Here are some important tasks you should do when a wildfire is imminent.
Note that this list assumes you have taken all the steps to make your home or cabin defensible in the event of a wildfire, and you have an evacuation plan (see our previous entry for information on how to put together YOUR evacuation plan).
1. Collect up your pets, and confine them for transport. DO THIS FIRST!
2. Quickly review of your evacuation plan.
3. Make sure all family members know your planned evacuation routes and where to meet up if separated during the evacuation. The location needs to be well-away from the fire.
4. Collect all of your valuable papers, memorabilia, and the evacuation kit that you have previously placed in a location for quick access and removal. You should already have a list and be ready.
5. Make sure gutters, roof, and roof valleys are clear of leaves and dead branches.
6. Remove combustible materials, lawn furniture, doormats, garden accessories, tarps, and other flammable items from decks and around the house and other buildings.
7. Close all doors and windows, including those to the attic and basement, and close pet doors and vents.
8. Remove flammable drapes from windows, and close shutters and blinds.
9. Leave doors and windows unlocked, and disconnect electric garage door openers for firefighter access.
10. If you are leaving any motor vehicles behind, move them to locations well away from structures, and close all of the vehicle doors and windows.
11. Open gates in all wooden and plastic fences, and unlock all access gates.
12. Shut off natural gas, propane, or fuel oil supplies at the source.
13. Obey Evacuation Orders, and evacuate early with your valuable papers, medicine, memorabilia, and pets.
14. On your way out, make sure that your home or cabin address sign is clearly visible.
Only if you have adequate time, and the above jobs are done, consider:
A. Connecting garden hose and filling large containers with water inside and outside.
B. Wetting down vegetation within 30 feet of your home, or turning on sprinklers. So this only if your water supply is adequate.
FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS ONCE YOU’RE ALLOWED BACK BY THE FIRE AUTHORITIES.