How to prepare for wildfire survival?

Elvis Elvis

When it comes to a wildfire, there are some things you can do beforehand and some things to be cautious of afterwards. But during the firestorm get out of there.

When you hear of a looming wildfire keep your radio or television handy and check it often. Make tentative arrangements to stay with family or friends. Load up your vehicle with clothing, survival gear, and valuables.

Stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed.

If you are given a voluntary evacuation then you should definitely consider leaving. Only stay if it’s a real hardship to leave. Many of the associated casualties will be the result of poor health and the difficulties of the relocation. So for some it is safer to stay put.

If you are given a mandatory evacuation – leave. Don’t fuss with authorities, don’t hide, and don’t dawdle. Get out of there. If you stay, you put yourself and others at great risk. Many have died because they waited too long.

Here’s what you should take with you:

  • Cash
  • Identification (also medical insurance cards and alert bracelets)
  • Medication
  • Formula and Diapers if you have a baby
  • Pet food if applicable
  • Clothing for a week
  • Toiletries
  • Flashlight (in case you return at night)
  • Photo albums
  • Important records
  • Sentimental keepsakes
  • Jewelry
  • Toys, games, reading material
  • Bible

If you’ll be staying at an evacuation center, then you should also take:

  • Face masks
  • Blankets or sleeping bags
  • Pillows
  • Tent
  • Radio or portable TV
  • Food and water bowls for pets
  • Food and water to share (there may not be much there at first)
  • Folding chairs
  • Sunglasses
  • Hats
  • Extra toilet paper
  • Extra batteries for flashlights and radios


There may be some things you can do to minimize your risk prior to a wildfire starting. Although a fire can spread through any neighborhood, they are usually contained unless the fire is in a forest, canyon, or other open area.

If you live in such an area think about what you can do to reduce the spread of fire. Clean up dry brush. Create clearings around your house. Keep the area as green as can be. Ice plant works great in canyons.

When a fire is imminent, watering down your roof and land can be helpful, but don’t count on it. And don’t stay so long that you’re trying to douse the fire itself! Let the fire department do their job.

If you are evacuated there are many things to do (and not do) when you return.

First, inspect your home. Even if your house is fully intact, there may be lurking dangers. Check for burning embers, especially on the roof. If you find damage, don’t repair or clean it up until a formal damage assessment has been conducted. If you do, you may lose any claim to assistance. And don’t forget to wear a face mask during this process.

Look for hot spots on your grounds. Check your trees for fire damage. A burnt tree could fall.

How to prepare for wildfire survival?

Check for gas leaks and electrical problems. You may need to reset your breaker panel. If you smell gas get out immediately and call the gas company. If you see a fallen power line, call the electric company and warn others to stay clear of it.

Clean up ashes with a broom and dust pan. Place ash in garbage bags and securely tie them. Be sure to wear a long sleeve shirt and pants, a face mask, and protective eyewear if possible. Do not use the water hose to get rid of ashes. This possess a health risk to people and animals.

Finally, if your house did catch fire, use extra caution. There can be toxic fumes and hazardous materials.

There may also be hot spots. In addition to the clothes mentioned above wear gloves. And be careful when you move things as there may be sharp objects that you don’t see. Also be sure that any standing walls are stable.

One last word. If your area has been devastated by a wildfire there will be the opportunity to help others in various ways. Consider how you may pitch in. The clean up effort alone will be a long hard task.