you live on a remote hillside or in a valley,
prairie, or forest where flammable vegetation
is abundant, your residence could be vulnerable
to wildfires. These fires are usually triggered
by lightning or accidents. Wildfires spread
quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes.
Before a Wildfire
To prepare for wildfires,
- Mark the entrance to your property
with address signs that are clearly
visible from the road.
- Keep lawns trimmed, leaves raked,
and the roof and rain gutters free
from debris such as dead limbs and leaves.
- Stack firewood at least 30 feet
away from your residence.
- Store flammable materials, liquids,
and solvents in metal containers outside
your residence at least 30 feet away
from structures and wooden fences.
- Create defensible space by thinning
trees and brush within 30 feet around
your residence. Beyond 30 feet, remove dead
wood, debris, and low tree branches.
- Landscape your property with fire
resistant plants and vegetation to
prevent fire from spreading quickly. For example,
hardwood trees are more fire-resistant
than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus, or
- Make sure water sources, such as
hydrants, ponds, swimming pools, and
wells, are accessible to the fire department.
- Use fire resistant, protective roofing
and materials like stone, brick, and
metal to protect your residence. Avoid using
wood materials. They offer the least
- Cover all exterior vents, attics,
and eaves with metal mesh screens no larger
than 6 millimeters or ¼ inch
to prevent debris from collecting and
to help keep sparks out.
- Install multi-pane windows, tempered
safety glass, or fireproof shutters
to protect large windows from radiant heat.
- Use fire-resistant draperies for
added window protection.
- Have chimneys, wood stoves, and
all home heating systems inspected
and cleaned annually by a certified specialist.
- Insulate chimneys and place spark
arresters on top. The chimney should
be at least 3 feet above the roof.
- Remove branches hanging above and
around the chimney.
Before burning debris
in a wooded area, make
sure you notify local
authorities, obtain a
burning permit, and follow
- Use an approved incinerator with
safety lid or covering with holes no
larger than ¾ inch.
- Create at least a 10-foot clearing
the incinerator before burning debris.
- Have a fire extinguisher or garden
on hand when burning debris.
During a Wildfire
If a wildfire threatens your home and time
permits, take the following precautions:
- Shut off gas at the meter. Only
a qualified professional can safely turn
the gas back on.
- Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut
plywood or commercial seals.
- Turn off propane tanks.
- Place combustible patio furniture
- Connect garden hose to outside taps.
Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and
near above-ground fuel tanks. Wet the roof.
- Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet
of your residence.
- Gather fire tools such as a rake,
axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket, and
- Back your car into the garage or park
it in an open space facing the direction
of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows.
Leave the key in the ignition and the
car doors unlocked. Close garage windows and
doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect
automatic garage door openers.
- Open fireplace damper. Close fireplace
- Close windows, vents, doors, blinds
or noncombustible window coverings,
and heavy drapes. Remove flammable drapes and curtains.
- Move flammable furniture into the
center of the residence away from windows
and sliding-glass doors.
- Close all interior doors and windows
to prevent drafts.
- Place valuables that will not be damaged
by water in a pool or pond.
advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
Choose a route away from the fire hazard.
Watch for changes in the speed and direction
of the fire and smoke.
If you require more information about
any of these topics, the following resource
may be helpful.
Wildfire: Are You
Prepared? L-203. Wildfire safety tips, preparedness,
and mitigation techniques.