​If there are reports of wildland fires:

  • Contact your immediate family members.  Refer to your Family Communications Plan. If they are in the neighborhood, have them return home; if they are away from the neighborhood, advise them of the situation and your plans.
  • If your family has an Evacuation Plan, find it and review it.  Review potential evacuation routes and safety zones with family members.
  • Confine pets to one room so you can find them quickly if you need to leave.
  • Listen to local radio or TV stations or HAM Radios for updated emergency information.  Follow instructions of local officials regarding the safest escape route.
  • If you have one, turn on your FRS or GMRS Radio and set it to your neighborhood’s channel.  Check in, and continue to monitor for new information.
  • If safe to do so, go outside to assess the situation.  If you believe the fire is too close to your location, evacuate immediately or if necessary shelter in place.  Know the evacuation routes in your community; choose a route away from the fire and other potential hazards.  If at all possible and practical, evacuate all of your animals.
  • Park your car in an open space, facing the direction of escape.  Leave the key in the ignition, roll up windows and shut car door and sunroof. 
  • Open access gates to your property while you still have time and electricity to operate automatic gates.​
  • If time allows, arrange for temporary housing at a friend’s or relative’s home outside the threatened area.  You will be more comfortable in someone’s home than in a public shelter.
  • Most shelters do not allow pets.  Have a pre-arranged place for your large animals if possible.
  • Put your Disaster Supplies Kit in your car.
  • Place your short list of “must take” items in your car.
  • Financial and insurance papers        
  • Photo albums 
  • Computer data backups       
  • Irreplaceable artwork
  • Change into protective clothing:  sturdy shoes or boots, cotton or wool clothing, long pants, long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.  Wear goggles and a hard hat, if possible, and carry drinking water and a flashlight.
  • Evacuate large animals or release them into a corral or pasture containing as little burnable material as possible.  It may be too late to maneuver a trailer through slow traffic and thick smoke and a trailer may block incoming fire trucks.  If you have too many large animals to evacuate and there is still time to do so, call your Large Animal Evacuation Group for assistance.  They will be activated by the first responders, but a call to them might provide them more time to get to you.
  • Consider evacuating those family members who will not be helping prepare your home and neighborhood for an evacuation early.


  • ​​Shut off gas / propane or any source of fuel.  Clear flammable materials from around propane tanks.
  • Fuel and ready any gas-powered pumps or generators that run electric pumps that can be of assistance.
  • Fill several garbage cans, tubs or other large containers with water.  Soak several towels to use in beating out embers or small fires.
  • Connect garden hoses and place sprinklers within 50 feet of your home.
  • Place a ladder at a safe place to access the roof to extinguish embers, fire brands or small spot fires.
  • Open fireplace dampers.  Close fireplace screens.
  • Remove lightweight drapes and curtains.  Close windows, vents, doors blinds and heavy drapes.
  • Move combustible furniture into the center of the room, away from windows and sliding-glass doors.
  • Close all inside doors and windows, attics, eves, vents and pet doors to prevent drafts that could spread fire.
  • Place valuables that will not be damaged by water in a pool or pond.  
  • Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
  • Remove combustible items from around your home, lawn and poolside:  patio furniture, umbrellas, tarp coverings, firewood.  Store in a detached garage or shed.
  • Gather fire tools (rakes, shovels, pruning saws, chain saws, buckets, brooms, hoes, hoses, nozzles) and put outside for easy access.
  • Spray a wood shake roof with water.  If burning embers begin to fall on the roof and water supply and pressure are adequate, consider placing a lawn sprinkler on the roof to keep it moist.
  • Moisten brush, pine needles, or other small flammable objects on or close to the structure.  Use existing sprinklers to keep these fuels moist. 

Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.  Don’t let the fire get ahead of you and block your route to safety.  Be especially cautious if embers or burning wood begin to fall in your neighborhood. If you didn’t do so when the fire season began, do these now, if there is time:

  • Clear leaves, dead limbs, twigs, brush and vegetation away from the structure. 
  • Clear roof and gutters of leaves and pine needles.
  • Cut low-hanging branches and limbs that could act as ladders for the fire.  
  • Remove leaves and rubbish from under home and other structures.
  • Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.  
  • Remove vines from the walls of the home.  
  • Mow tall grass.

Join with Your Neighbors to Prepare Your
Neighborhood – GET INVOLVED

  • Activate your phone trees and turn on your FRS/GMRS Radios  
  • Establish lookouts to monitor the approaching fire. 
  • Open fire and emergency access gates.    
  • Alert neighbors to the approaching fire and inform them about recommended preparation activities.
  • Brief them on neighborhood escape routes and safety zones.    
  • Patrol for spot fires.  
  • Extinguish small fires and report all spot fires. 
  • Move parked vehicles from areas with narrow passage.    
  • Assist neighbors who have special needs to prepare for an evacuation.
  • Report to your neighbors about changing conditions:  smoke, ash, embers, changes in wind speed or direction, spot fires, approaching flame fronts.
  • If you have FRS/GMRS radios in your community, you can communicate efficiently to many at the same time.

What to Do When Wildland Fire Threatens