The National Weather Service is warning that critical wildfire conditions are likely in the central and southern Plains through Wednesday, one of the most significant wildfire predictions in recent history for this time of year. The wildfire threat is fueled by strong winds, lots of dry fuel, low humidity and temperatures above normal. The American Red Cross is preparing to respond if necessary and urges everyone to follow these safety steps.
Be prepared to evacuate at a moment’s notice and obey all evacuation orders from officials.
- Back your car into the garage or park it outside, facing the direction of your evacuation route.
- Keep your pets in one room, so you can find them if you need to evacuate quickly.
- Limit exposure to smoke and dust. Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors to prevent outside smoke from getting in.
- Don’t use anything that burns, such as candles, fireplaces and gas stoves.
If you’re trapped outdoors, crouch in a pond, river or pool.
- Don’t put wet clothing or bandanas over your mouth or nose, as moist air can cause more damage to your airway than dry air at the same temperature.
- If there is no body of water, look for shelter in a cleared area or among a bed of rocks. Lie flat, face-down and cover your body with soil. Breathe the air close to the ground to avoid scorching your lungs or inhaling smoke.
Download the Red Cross Emergency app for real-time alerts, open Red Cross shelter locations and expert advice on wildfires. The Emergency app also includes an “I’m Safe” feature that help people check on loved ones. Search “American Red Cross” in app stores, or go to redcross.org/apps
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO NOW
Make sure you have access to local alerts and notifications so you can monitor conditions and receive instructions from local officials, even during a power outage. Keep track of fires near you so you can be ready to evacuate quickly. You may have only minutes to get out. Register to receive any free emergency alerts from your community. Understand your community’s plan to notify individuals with disabilities.
- Purchase a battery-powered radio to receive information from local authorities during a power outage.
- Find an outdoor water source such as a pond, well, even a swimming pool, and have a hose that can reach any area of your property.
- Create a fire-resistant zone free of leaves, debris or flammable materials for at least 30 feet out from your home.
- Make sure driveway entrances and your house number are clearly marked so fire vehicles can get to your home.
- Designate a room that can be closed off from outside air. Close all doors and windows. Set up a portable air cleaner to keep indoor pollution levels low when smoky conditions exist.