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How To Prepare for Wildfire Season

In 2021, wildfires burned 7,139,713 acres, far less than the record-breaking fires in 2020. Despite less acreage burned, the painful results were the same: hundreds of thousands of dollars in home damages and the loss of life worldwide. 

The latest wildfire forecast information for 2022 reveals an above-average likelihood of wildfires for many regions of the United States. Staying safe this year requires preparation and supplies more than ever before.

Wildfires typically happen during the summer and peak between July and November due to hot, dry weather and winds. Wildfires, especially in the west, are unavoidable, but there are several ways to prepare and keep yourself and your home safe.

Our guide on preparing for the 2022 wildfire season lets you know the updated wildfire forecast (released in August 2022) for regions across the United States, as well as tips and supplies to have on hand in case you’re in danger.

2022 Wildfire Season Forecast

The wildfire forecast information provided below is from the National Interagency Fire Center and is frequently updated. If your area isn’t listed below, check periodically with the NIFC to see if more updated information is available.

Alaska

Fire potential is normal throughout the rest of the 2022 wildfire season and through late summer.

Northwest

Fire potential is above normal for the Northwest Geographic area during August and September.

Elsewhere, the potential for significant fires is expected to be near normal, with the entire geographic area returning to near normal significant fire potential in October and November. 

Northern California and Hawaii

For August and September, fire potential is projected to be above normal for all elevations and areas, excluding some near coastal portions of Northern California.

Hawaii’s significant fire potential is above normal from August through November across many islands, especially the leeward sides.

Southern California

Significant fire potential is forecast to be above normal in portions of the Coast Ranges in central California and the Sierra Nevada through September, with increasing potential in the Peninsular and Transverse Ranges during September.

Coastal southern California will likely have above-normal fire potential during October and November.

Southwest

Across the eastern plains of New Mexico, there are areas of above-normal significant fire potential for both August and September. Elsewhere in the Southwest Geographic Area, fire potential is near normal.

By October and November, significant fire potential will be normal area-wide.

Rocky Mountains

Areas across Wyoming and the Black Hills have above-normal fire potential in August and September.

For fall, normal significant fire potential is expected across all areas.

Eastern Area

Portions of the Missouri Valley and western Mississippi Valley have above-normal fire potential in August and October. In September, southern Missouri has above normal fire potential.

Otherwise, near-normal significant fire potential is forecast across most of the Eastern Area into November.

Southern Area

Above normal fire potential exists across western portions of the Southern Area.

How to Prepare for the 2022 Wildfire Season

If you are in any of the areas above or near current wildfires, it is best to be prepared for any incoming danger. 

Our guide for preparing for wildfires includes tips on what supplies to have stocked on your shelves, apps installed on your phone, and information on evacuation plans.

Have Emergency Supplies Readily Available

A prepared emergency kit with proper supplies could mean the difference between life and death during a fire-related emergency. 

We recommend putting together a wildfire emergency kit including:

If possible, grab easy-to-carry valuables and irreplaceable items such as family photos within reach in the event of an evacuation.

Since they rely on us for their safety and wellbeing, we can’t forget about our four-legged friends. The Red Cross suggests having a second emergency kit ready, this one with them in mind. An emergency kit for your dog or cat should include:

  • Leashes, harnesses, or carriers to prevent escape
  • Plenty of food and clean water, plus bowls 
  • Toys, beds, and blankets (if easily moveable)
  • Any relevant information regarding their medical condition, feeding schedule, and the name of your veterinarian

Keep Track of Fires in Your Area

If you live in an area prone to wildfires, you need a reliable way to keep an eye out for any fires in your area. Options include AirNow’s Fire and Smoke Map, Weather.gov’s Hazard Map, and the Emergency Alert System on the NOAA Weather Radio.

Several good fire map apps available can be downloaded directly to your phone, which all allow you time to prepare and evacuate. Consider downloading ones like Wildfire Alert, DisasterAlert, AFIS, or Fireguard.

Know Your Community’s Evacuation Plans

In addition to being aware of your surroundings, it’s essential to know how to escape your surroundings if you need to. Research any evacuation plans your community has put into place, but go even further to find several ways to leave the area on your own.

When creating your evacuation plan, mark it clearly on a map and practice. When driving the route, find any shelter available and mark those. 

In preparing for evacuation, determine several accessible meeting points along the route if you and your group become separated. Consider investing in walkie-talkies if your cell phone dies or you lose reception.

Prepare Your Home for Wildfires

Of course, an essential part of being ready for wildfire is ensuring your home is as safe as possible. It’s not just direct exposure to flames that can destroy your home: radiant heat and flying embers can also destroy homes and are responsible for many destroyed homes.

You can take steps to harden your home to increase the likelihood of its survival when fire hits. This includes retrofitting your roof, building surfaces with ignition-resistant or non-combustible materials, and installing dual-pane windows to reduce the chance of shattered glass.

Make sure your property includes defensible space. This space contains grass, trees, shrubs, and woodland that serves as a buffer between the fire and your home. This area will help slow or stop the fire and protect your home from catching fire due to heat, flame, or embers, and it will provide firefighters with a safe working area. 
Ready for Wildfire has a great guide to getting your home ready, which you can see here.

Are you preparing for wildfire season? LifeSecure has the supplies you need.

A wildfire is one of the most devastating natural disasters, and with the season in full swing, it’s crucial to be prepared. 

Always be ready to evacuate at a moment’s notice, stay informed by listening to local news and radio stations, keep your emergency kit within arms’ reach, and identify nearby shelters.

If you need supplies, our wide selection of non-perishable food, first-aid kits, and battery-operated radios provide enough protection to get your wildfire preparedness bag started.


biography
David Scott
David co-founded LifeSecure in 2005, just a few months before Hurricane Katrina taught everyone that one can go hungry and thirsty in America and even die before help arrives. For over a decade David has focused on developing and discovering superior emergency and disaster survival solutions - kits and supplies. He has trained community groups in emergency preparedness, helped non-profit organizations prepare emergency kits for needy individuals, conducted community emergency response exercises, and developed emergency plans for non-profit organizations. David makes an ongoing study of how best to prepare for and respond to various natural and man-made disasters, and his mission has been to help others “live Life SECURE” every day by preparing for what may come someday.