Building a Weather-Ready Nation: Spring Wildfires

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Special Stories
15 Mar 2021 8:56 AM

COURTESY: NWS Wildfire Weather Safety


Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire:
  • Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home.
  • Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures.
  • Put together a basic emergency supply kit. Check emergency equipment, such as flashlights and generators.
  • Plan escape routes and make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
  • Learn more ways to protect yourself, your family and your property
  • Before an emergency happens, sit down with your family or close friends and decide how you will get in contact with each other, where you will go, and what you will do in an emergency. Keep a copy of this plan in your emergency supplies kit or another safe place where you can access it in the event of a disaster. Start at the Ready.Gov emergency plan webpage.
  • Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property.
  • Understand NWS forecast products, especially the meaning of NWS watches and warnings.


  • Pack your emergency items.
  • Stay aware of the latest wildfire news at the National Interagency Fire Center Large Fire News site or Incident Information Site (Inciweb) and information on your local National Weather Service office and local government/emergency management office. Find out what type of emergencies could occur and how you should respond. Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or other radio or TV stations for the latest storm news.
  • Follow instructions issued by local officials. Leave immediately if ordered!
  • If NOT ordered to evacuate:
    • Do not light campfires, bonfires, candles or anything else that could blow over and start a fire.
    • If you smoke, be sure to extinguish your cigarette or cigar before disposing of it. Never through a burning item out a window.
    • Bag up trash, clippings and other easily flammable items.
    • Fill up your vehicle in case you need to evacuate.


  • Follow your personal wildland fire action plan. Following your plan will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.
  • Continue listening to a NOAA Weather Radio or the local news for the latest updates.
  • If you were told to evacuate, return home only when officials say it is safe.
  • Once home, drive only if necessary. If you must go out, watch for fallen objects in the road, downed electrical wires, and weakened walls, bridges, roads, and sidewalks that might collapse.
  • Walk carefully around the outside of your home to check for damaged power lines, gas leaks, and structural damage.
  • Stay out of any building in which you smell gas, see smoke or flames or if the building or home was damaged by fire, or if the authorities have not declared it safe.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms in areas dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety.
  • Use battery-powered flashlights. Do NOT use candles. Turn on your flashlight before entering a vacated building. The battery could produce a spark that could ignite leaking gas, if present.
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