Many areas in California have been predicted to be at high risk for wildfires in 2019. The increased rainfall has created beautiful green scenery on the sides of highways, and in the mountains, but the more plants that turn to dry brush during the hot summer months, the higher the chance of wildfires. We have all seen the divesting aftermath of a wildfire, and we encourage everyone to be prepared because wildfires are unpredictable. They can spread in 30 seconds or less.
In the case of a wildfire, it is crucial that you are able to grab your belongings quickly and they are easy to load in the car. The following items should be kept together near where you normally exit your house, like the front door, side door, or in your garage.
What to Pack:
- Important Files: Technology is only great when it works; rely on the technology as little as possible in the case of a fire. If you have paper copies of your homeowner's or renter’s insurance, pack them. Also consider your back up disks, USB drives, paper contact list, photo CDs, and photograph albums.
- Emergency Supply Kit: This should include water (1 gallon per person), a three day supply of dry and canned food per person, flashlight, a portable radio, first aid kit, batteries, a manual can opener, and sanitation supplies. If you have room, consider a couple of blankets and pillows, in case you need to spend the night at a shelter.
- Special / Valuable items: It may not be reasonable to keep every important thing to you in a box if they are used often, or out as décor. In that case, make a list of a few valuable items, and keep the list on the top of your prepacked items so you see it right away.
- Pet Supplies: If you have pets, keep carriers (if applicable), extra leashes, food, and water (and a bowl), litter boxes, litter, and any medications as needed with your prepacked items. Once your pet is secure, be sure they are secure on the trip from the house to your car. It is in these few moments when pets typically run away.
What You Can Do For Your House:
- Close all windows and doors to prevent embers from coming in due to draft from the winds.
- Remove fire hazard combustibles (firewood and fuel cans).
- Shut off propane gas.
In any fire, situation remembers to always listen and consider official's recommendations. Please evacuate early, and keep your items packed at all times, in case you ever find yourself in a situation of high winds and little time to evacuate safely. For more information on prevention, preparation, safety, and fire updates visit National Geographic or Cal Fire.
We hope that you are never put in this situation, but we urge you to be prepared in case of an emergency.