Stay Safe During a Wildfire
Stay safe during a fire. Pay attention to local weather forecasts, especially those that may affect fire conditions, and always follow instructions given by local emergency management officials.
Protect yourself from smoke.
When wildfires create smoky conditions it’s important for everyone to reduce their exposure to smokeexternal icon. Wildfire smoke irritates your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. It can make it hard to breathe and make you cough or wheeze. Childrenexternal icon, pregnant women, and people with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or heart disease, need to be especially careful about breathing wildfire smoke.
Keep smoke outside.
- Choose a room you can close off from outside air.
- Set up a portable air cleaner or a filterexternal icon to keep the air in this room clean even when it’s smoky in the rest of the building and outdoors. If you use a do-it-yourself box fan filtration unit, never leave it unattended.
Reduce your smoke exposure by wearing a respirator pdf icon[PDF – 329 KB]external icon.
- A respirator is a mask that fits tightly to your face to filter out smoke before you breathe it in.
- You must wear the right respirator and wear it correctly pdf icon[PDF – 2.7 MB]external icon. Respirators are not made to fit children.
- If you have heart or lung disease ask your doctor if it is safe for you to wear a respirator.
- Avoid using candles, gas, propane, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, or aerosol sprays and don’t fry or broil meat, smoke tobacco products, or vacuum.
- If you have a central air conditioning system, use high efficiency filters to capture fine particles from smoke. If your system has a fresh air intake, set the system to recirculate mode or close the outdoor intake damper.
Pets and other animals can be affected by wildfire smoke too.
- Learn how to protect petsexternal icon and livestockexternal icon.
- Some evacuation centers do not accept animals. Check Petfinder’s Shelter Centerexternal icon or RedRoverexternal icon for information on local animal shelters and rescue groups
Keep track of fires near you so you can be ready.
- AirNow’s “Fires: Current Conditions” page external iconhas a map of fires throughout North America.
- NOAA’s “Fire weather outlookexternal icon” page maps fire watches and warnings.
- Listen to the Emergency Alert System (EAS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio for emergency alerts.
Pay attention to any health symptoms if you have asthma, COPD, heart disease, or are pregnant. Get medical help if you need it.
Learn more about protecting yourself from wildfire smokeexternal icon.
You may be asked by public authorities to evacuate or you may decide to evacuate. Read about how to evacuate safely and how to develop a family disaster plan, including:
- Finding out what could happen to you
- Making a disaster plan
- Completing the checklist
- Practicing your plan
Stay healthy during power outages.
Large fires can cause long-term power outages. Read about what to do if your power goes out, including:
- Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning
- Food safety
- Safe drinking water
- Power line hazards