Be Prepared- Fire
The threat of wildland fires for people living near wildland areas or using
recreational facilities in wilderness areas is real. Advance planning and knowing
how to protect buildings in these areas can lessen the devastation of a wildland
Learn and teach safe fire practices.
- Build fires away from nearby trees or bushes.
- Always have a way to extinguish the fire quickly and completely.
- Never leave a fire--even a cigarette--burning unattended.
- Obtain local building codes and weed abatement ordinances for structures
built near wooded areas.
- Use fire-resistant materials when building, renovating, or retrofitting
- Create a safety zone to separate the home from combustible plants and vegetation.
- Stone walls can act as heat shields and deflect flames.
- Swimming pools and patios can be a safety zone.
Check for fire hazards around home.
- Install electrical lines underground, if possible. Keep all tree and shrub
limbs trimmed so they don't come in contact with the wires.
- Prune all branches around the residence to a height of 8 to 10 feet. Keep
trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying wood and moss.
- Remove all dead limbs, needles, and debris from rain gutters.
- Store combustible or flammable materials in approved safety containers and
keep them away from the house.
- Keep chimney clean.
- Avoid open burning completely, and especially during dry season.
- Install smoke detectors on every level of your home and near sleeping areas.
- Make evacuation plans from home and from neighborhood.
- Plan several routes in case the fire blocks escape route.
Have disaster supplies on hand
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- Portable, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
- First aid kit and manual
- Emergency food and water
- Nonelectric can opener
- Essential medicines
- Cash and credit cards
- Sturdy shoes
Develop an emergency communication plan.
- In case family members are separated from one another during a wildland
fire (a real possibility during the day when adults are at work and children
are at school), have a plan for getting back together.
- Ask an out-of-state relative or friend to serve as the "family contact."
After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Make sure everyone
knows the name, address, and phone number of the contact person.
- Fire-Resistant Building Materials
Avoid using wooden shakes and shingles for a roof. Use tile, stucco, metal
siding, brick, concrete block, rock, or other fire-resistant materials. Use
only thick, tempered safety glass in large windows and sliding glass doors.
Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter
for more information on wildland fires.
Turn on a battery-operated radio to get the latest emergency information.
Remove combustible items from around the house.
* Lawn and poolside furniture
* Tarp coverings
* Take down flammable drapes and curtains and close all venetian
blinds or noncombustible window coverings.
Take action to protect your home.
* Close all doors and windows inside your home to prevent draft.
* Close gas valves and turn off all pilot lights.
* Turn on a light in each room for visibility in heavy smoke.
* Place valuables that will not be damaged by water in a pool or
* If hoses and adequate water are available, leave sprinklers on
roofs and anything that might be damaged by fire.
* Be ready to evacuate all family members and pets when fire nears or when
instructed to do so by local officials.
DID YOU KNOW...
- More than four out of every five forest fires are started by people. Negligent
human behavior such as smoking in forested areas or improperly extinguishing
campfires are the cause of many fires. The other cause of forest fires is
- A prescribed fire is a fire that is purposely ignited by land management
agencies under controlled conditions for specific management objectives.
- The 1991 wildland fires in Oakland, California, caused 26 deaths and 148
injuries. The fires destroyed over 3,000 structures, left over 5,000 people
homeless and resulted in $1.5 billion in damages.
- In 1990, hot, dry weather conditions in California contributed to brush
fires in Santa Barbara County that destroyed more than 600 buildings, caused
over $200 million of damage and killed one person.
Exceprted from FEMA article Wildfire