Wildfires and Your Family

Wildfires and Your Family

Wildfires can occur anywhere and at anytime. Preparing your family for wildfire situations can help you avoid or minimize injury and speed the recovery process.

Use this checklist to start preparing your family before a wildfire and learn what to do during and after a wildfire situation.

Wildfires and Your Family [PDF]

Determine the risk of wildfire in your area

Active Weather Alerts and Forecasts
Map showing active weather alerts and forcast maps.
National Weather Service
Fire Weather and Current Hazards
Map showing current large fire incidents
USDA Forest Service

Know the Terminology

Fire Weather Watch: issued when the potential for severe fire weather exists in the near future – usually in 12 and 24 hours – but sometimes days in advance.

Red Flag Warning: issued to indicate the imminent danger of severe fire weather with a relatively high probability of occurrence.

Before a Wildfire

  • Sign-up for local emergency alerts.
  • Prepare an emergency kit.
  • Develop an evacuation plan.
  • Create a family communication plan.

During a Wildfire

  • Listen to the radio or television for situation developments, evacuation instructions and routes, and road closures.
  • Gather your emergency kit.
  • If an evacuation order is given, leave immediately.
  • Drive carefully when evacuating.
  • Follow evacuation routes and expect heavy traffic.
  • Take health precautions.

After a Wildfire

  • Do not return home until authorities tell you it is safe.
  • Use caution when entering burned areas.
  • Seek medical attention for injuries as soon as possible.

For more information, see the "Wildfires and your Family" factsheet above.

More Wildfire Preparedness Factsheets

Additional Resources

Be Ready! Wildfires
Infographic highlighting preparedness tips for wildfires.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Before a Wildfire
Website with links to wildfire preparedness information.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
During a Wildfire
Website with steps to take during wildfire situations.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
How to Prepare for a Wildfire
Resource guide with information to prepare for wildfire situations.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
Prepare for Wildfire
Website with wildfire preparedness information.
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
Protect Yourself and Your Family After a Wildfire
Website with tips to protect yourself after a wildifire.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Understanding Fire Danger
Website describing the National Fire Danger Rating System.
National Park Service
Wildfire Weather Safety
Website with information on preparedness, response, and recovery from wildfires.
National Weather Service
Webpage with information on what to do before, during, and after a wildfire.
Website with resources for preparing before a wildfire, actions during a wildfire, and how to recover after a wildfire.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention