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What to do if a Wildfire Threatens

Be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice.

Wildfire season has been a year-round threat in California due to the extreme four-year drought. According to the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC), almost 20 large fires are burning now and more than 100 new fires have been reported.

The American Red Cross is helping people impacted by several fires burning in the Golden State and offers safety tips on how to better protect yourself and your loved ones from a wildfire.

Currently, the Gold Country region alone has been operating two shelters in Trinity County due to the Mad River Complex Fires and the Fork Complex Fires. 


  • Learn about wildfire risks in your area or the region where you are planning to vacation.
  • Download the free Red Cross Emergency App to learn more about wildfires and set up alerts.
  • Talk with members of your household about wildfires – how to prevent them and what to do if one occurs.
  • Select a place for family members to meet outside your neighborhood in case you cannot get home or need to evacuate.
  • Identify someone who is out of the area to contact if local phone lines are not working.
  • Post emergency numbers by every phone, or enter them into your cell phones.
  • Make a plan and practice it. Plan and practice two ways out of your neighborhood or vacation area in case your primary route is blocked.
  • Firewood should be stacked at least 30 feet uphill from your home or camping spot. 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 or vacation area.



  • Be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
  • Listen to local radio and television stations for updated emergency information.
  • Always back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
  • Confine pets to one room or spot so that you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Arrange for temporary housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the threatened area.
  • Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
  • Use the recycle or re-circulate mode on the air conditioner in your home or car.
  • When smoke levels are high, do not use anything that burns and adds to indoor air pollution, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.


The free Emergency App is highly customizable and informative with alerts, vital emergency information and a “Family Safe” feature to notify loved ones that an alert has been issued in their area and check to see if they are safe. Find it in your app store by searching for American Red Cross.


Become a volunteer or make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your donations can help provide shelter for someone who has had to leave their home and food and water for them to eat. Help people affected by disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, floods, tornadoes and countless other crises by making a gift to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small. To donate, people can visit, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767) or text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.