Here’s guidance from the National Weather Service (NWS)1, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)2, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)3 to help you prepare for wildfires in your area.

  1. Know your area’s risk. Wildfires are common in areas like forests, grasslands, or prairies and can be caused by humans or lightning. Wildfires can happen anywhere with chances increasing when there is little rain or high winds. To see if your area has any forecasted fire hazards, you can visit the National Weather Service’s Fire Weather page , opens new window. Additional resources can be found on the CalFireWildfire Preparedness , opens new window page. If you are located in an area that is prone to wildfires, the local jurisdiction in which you live may have pre-established evacuation zones. You can check this on your local jurisdiction’s public safety page. Below are a few examples:
  2. Make a plan. Create a plan that includes the steps your family will take in response to a wildfire. Be familiar with more than one evacuation route and practice evacuating with members of your household and pets. Plan where you will go in advance. Do not return home until authorities have said it’s safe to do so.

    Download the FEMA app ( FEMA Mobile App and Text Messages | FEMA.gov , opens new window) to view open shelters in your area during a disaster.

  3. Recognize warnings and alerts for wildfires. It is important in all disasters that you recognize your community’s warning system. This is how you will get important notices about evacuations.

    NWS definitions , opens new window

    • Red Flag Warning: Fire conditions are ongoing or expected to occur shortly.
    • Fire Weather Watch: Critical fire weather conditions are possible but not imminent or occurring.
    • Extreme Fire Behavior: A wildfire is out of control.
  4. Build a kit. Make sure you have a kit with essential supplies specific for wildfires and in the event of a public safety power outage. These can include N95 respirator masks, emergency food and water supply, and medication.
  5. Prepare your home.
    1. Use fire-resistant supplies during construction or renovation of your home.
    2. Identify an outdoor water source and ensure a hose can reach all parts of your property.
    3. Rid your property of leaves, debris, or flammable materials that are within 30 feet of your home.
    4. Select a room that has the capability to be closed off from outside air and have a portable air cleaner or filter available.


  1. “National Weather Service safety tips,” last accessed April 19, 2021, https://www.weather.gov/safety/, opens new window
  2. “Disaster information,” last accessed April 19, 2021, https://www.fema.gov/disasters, opens new window
  3. “Natural disasters and severe weather,” last accessed April 19, 2021, https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/index.html, opens new window