Wildfires affect everyone. They can spread fast and harm us. Wildfires are getting bigger and more dangerous. More people are living in areas at risk for wildfires, but we can take action to prepare. Learn how to prepare your household and community.
What Should You Do Before a Wildfire Starts?
Be ready to evacuate quickly.
You may have to leave your home quickly to stay safe. Know where you will go, how you will get there, and where you will stay. Have different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these routes so everyone in your household is familiar with them. Be sure to understand how your community will respond to a wildfire.
Protect Your Home by Changing How You Take Care of Your Land
By creating "defensible space" you can reduce the chance of your home catching fire during a wildfire.
How Can You Help Your Children Prepare for a Wildfire?
The Red Cross has created digital resources and videos on wildfires and other common hazards, including this video from our Prepare with Pedro series. These tools are an age-appropriate way for families and educators to help children be better prepared in an emergency. Please visit redcross.org/youthprep.
Keep track of the weather, fires near you, and listen to instructions from local authorities.
Be ready to leave quickly with your Go-Kit.
You might not get an official notice to evacuate.
Be ready to leave if local authorities advise, or if you feel you are in danger.
How Does the Red Cross Help During Wildfires?
During wildfires, the Red Cross provides safe shelter, food and comfort to affected families.
How Can You Stay Safe After a Wildfire?
Wait for officials to say it is safe before going back home.
Avoid hot ash, charred trees, smoldering debris, and live embers. The ground may contain heat pockets that can burn you or spark another fire.
Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles, and downed wires. They can electrocute you.
Watch for pits in the ground filled with ash. They may have hot embers underneath that could burn you. Mark them for safety, and warn your family and neighbors to keep clear of the pits.
How to Clean Up Safely
Follow public health rules and wear safety equipment.
Avoid direct contact with ash.
Protect yourself against ash when you clean up. Wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, long pants, shoes and socks to protect your skin. Wear goggles to protect your eyes. Limit how much ash you breathe in by wearing an N95 respirator.
Wash off ash that gets on your skin or in your eyes or mouth as soon as you can.
Children, pregnant women, and people with asthma, heart or lung conditions should not breathe in dust from ash.
Tips to Stay Healthy
Wildfires can make drinking water unsafe. Check with your local health department about drinking water safety.
When in doubt, throw it out! Throw out food that was exposed to heat, smoke, fumes, or chemicals.
Ask your healthcare provider or doctor about using refrigerated medicines.
Take Care of Yourself
It’s normal to have a lot of feelings.
Eat healthy food and get enough sleep to help you deal with stress.
You can contact the Disaster Distress Helpline for free if you need to talk to someone at 1-800-985-5990 or text “TalkWithUs’ to 66746.