Preparing your home and emergency bag for wildfire evacuations

Wildfire Evacuees Fill Lake Tahoe Roads In Rush To Flee
Noah Berger

Wildfire preparedness must start before a flame ever ignites.

It’s not only important to know the different wildfire evacuation levels, it’s important to know what to do before evacuations are put in place and what to grab if you have to leave.

Preparing for a wildfire

There are specific steps to take inside and outside of your home to prepare for evacuation.

Inside the House:

  • Have an emergency supply kit or evacuation bag ready
  • Ensure you have a wildfire action plan
  • Identify a place to go and routes to get there should you have to evacuate
  • Shut all windows and doors, but leave them unlocked
  • Remove flammable window shades, curtains and close metal shutters
  • Remove lightweight curtains
  • Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors
  • Shut off gas at the meter and turn off pilot lights
  • Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house in smoky conditions
  • Shut off the air conditioning

Outside the House:

  • Move all flammable items inside the house (patio furniture, kids toys, etc.)
  • Turn off propane tanks
  • Move the BBQ away from the house
  • Connect garden hoses to outside water valves
  • Fill water buckets and place them around the house
  • Turn off sprinklers
  • Leave exterior lights on so firefighters can see your house in smoky conditions
  • Put your emergency supply kit in your car
  • Back your car into your driveway. Leave the windows and doors closed. Keep your keys on your person
  • Put a ladder on the side of the house for fighters
  • Seal the attack and ground vents with plywood
  • Contact your neighbors


RELATED: Protecting your pets during a wildfire emergency

READ: How to create a wildfire action plan

What to put in your emergency bag: 

  • Face masks or coverings
  • Three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person
  • Map marked with at least two evacuation routes
  • Prescriptions or special medications
  • Change of clothing and closed-toed shoes
  • Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
  • An extra set of car keys, credit cards, cash or traveler’s checks
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries
  • Sanitation supplies
  • Copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, marriage license, home deed)
  • Pet food, water bowls
  • Water


Information courtesy of

READ: Ready, Set, Go: Understanding wildfire evacuation levels