​If you are at risk for wildland fire, you should:


  • Talk with members of your household about wildland fires – how to help prevent them and what to do if one occurs.
  • Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your home by clearly marking all driveway entrances and displaying your name and address and that the roads in/out or your community (including evacuation routes) are clearly marked.  Make sure the driveway is wide enough to allow fire emergency vehicles easy access to the home with ample turnaround space.  Keep the driveway in good condition.  If you have a locked gate, make sure you have the county-required lockbox in place for the first responders.
  • Post fire emergency telephone numbers and evacuation routes by every phone in your home.  In a wildland fire, every second counts.
  • Plan and practice two ways out of your neighborhood.  Your primary route may be blocked; know another way out just in case.
  • Identify and maintain an adequate water source outside your home, such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool or hydrant.  Keep a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.  Install freeze-proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home and near other structures on the property.  Install additional outlets at least 50 feet from the house.  Firefighters may be able to use them.
  • Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools:  a rake, ax, hand saw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.  You may need to fight small fires before emergency responders arrive.  Having this equipment will make your efforts more effective.
  • Develop a wildland fire-specific evacuation plan and coordinate it with your Family Disaster Plan.


​If you live in an area at risk for wildland fire consider taking the following steps:


  • ​Design and landscape your home and outbuildings with wildland fire safety in mind.  Obtain local building codes and weed-abatement ordinances for structures built near wooded areas.  There may be restrictions on the types of material or plants allowed.
  • Select building materials and plants that can help resist fire rather than fuel it.  Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials (tile, stucco, metal siding, brick, concrete block, or rock) on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling.  Treat wood or combustible materials used in roofs, siding, decking or trim with fire-retardant chemicals that have been listed by the Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) or other certification laboratory.  Avoid using wooden shakes and shingles for a roof.  Use only thick, tempered safety glass in large windows and sliding glass doors.
  • Have electrical lines installed underground.
  • Create safety zones to separate your home and outbuildings, such as barns, from plants and vegetation.  Maintain the greatest distance possible between your home and materials that may burn in a wildland fire.
  • ​If your home sits on a steep slope, standard protective measures may not suffice.  Fire moves quickly up steep slopes.  A larger safety zone may be necessary.  Contact your local fire department or state foresters office for additional information.
  • ​Regularly clean roofs and gutters.  Remove all dead limbs, needles and debris that spread fire.
  • Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211.  (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications.) This will reduce the chance of burning cinders escaping through the chimney. 
  • If you have horses or livestock, be sure to store hay and other burnable feed away from the building that houses the animals.
  • Keep tree limbs away from electrical wires.  Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
  • Place propane tanks at least 30 ft. from the home or other structures.  Clear a 10 ft. area around propane tanks.
  • Place stove, fireplace and grill ashes in a metal bucket, soak in water for two days, and then bury the cold ashes in mineral soil.  Once they are burned, chunks of flammable items can ignite at lower temperatures.     
  • Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish.
  • Stack firewood at least 30 ft. away and uphill from your home.  Clear combustible material within 20 ft. of the stack.  Fire tends to travel uphill, so keep highly combustible firewood and other materials above your home.
  • Use only wood-burning devices that are listed by UL.
  • Box leaves to prevent sparks from entering the structure under the roof line.
  • Place metal screens over openings to prevent collection of litter.  Cover openings to windows, floors, roof and attic with screen (not vinyl screen).  Use at least quarter-inch screen beneath porches, decks, floors and the home itself.  Eighth- or sixteenth- inch mesh screen is better.
  • Avoid open burning completely, especially during the fire season.  Ash and cinders can float in the air and they may be blown into areas with heavy fuel load and start wildland fires.
  • Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildland fire.  Community responders may eliminate/reduce conditions that could cause fire.Design and landscape your home and outbuildings with wildland fire safety in mind.  Obtain local building codes and weed-abatement ordinances for structures built near wooded areas.  There may be restrictions on the types of material or plants allowed.

Be Prepared for Wildland Fire