In an effort help Mountain Area residents prepare in case of a wildfire, Cal Fire offers the following guidelines on what to do before, during, and after the fire:
What to do before a wildland fire:
* Create defensible space to separate your home from flammable vegetation and materials (minimum 100ft PRC 4291).
* Adhere to all local fire and building codes and weed abatement ordinances.
* Keep all trees and shrub limbs trimmed so they do not come into contact with electrical wires or overhang your chimney. (Do not trim around live power lines yourself, call a professional).
* Prune all lower branches 8 feet from the ground.
* Keep trees adjacent to buildings free of dead or dying branches.
* Stack firewood away from your home and other buildings. (Keep clearance around your piles).
* Keep roof surfaces clear of pine needles, leaves and debris at all times.
* Install spark arresters for each chimney (PRC 4291).
* Clean chimneys and check and maintain spark arresters twice a year.
* Keep rain gutters clear of debris at all times.
* Use approved fire resistant materials when building, renovating or retrofitting structures.
* Install electrical lines underground if possible.
* Be sure your house numbers show clearly from the street, both day and night.
* Store combustible or flammable materials in approved containers.
* Store all important papers in a fireproof container or keep copies at another location.
* Make evacuation plans with family members. Include several options with an outside meeting place and contact person. Practice regularly.
* Keep battery operated radios and flashlights with additional fresh batteries on hand.
What to do during a wildland fire:
* Turn on a battery operated radio to get latest emergency information.
* If you have a ladder, prop it against the house so you and firefighters have access to roof.
* If hoses and adequate water are available set them up. Fill buckets with water.
* Remove combustible materials from the area surrounding your house, (lawnchairs, tables, etc.)
* Turn a light on in each room for visibility in case of smoke.
* Close all doors and windows, but do not lock them.
* Open or take down flammable drape and curtains.
* Close all venetian blinds and non-flammable window coverings.
* Move upholstered furniture away from windows and sliding glass doors.
* Be ready to evacuate all family members and pets when requested to do so.
* Turn off air conditioning/air circulation systems.
* Detach electrical garage doors. Back in your car and leave the keys in the ignition.
* Secure your pets if possible.
What to do after a wildland fire:
* Check with fire officials before attempting to return to your home.
* Use caution when re-entering a burned area - flare-ups can occur.
* Check grounds for hot spots smoldering stumps and vegetation. Use your buckets of water.
* Check the roof and exterior areas for sparks and embers.
* Check the attic and throughout the house for hidden burning sparks and embers.
* Continue to check for problem areas for several days.
* Contact 911 if any danger is perceived.
* If burning outside your home was extensive, watch for soil erosion.
* Consult local experts on the best way to restore and replant your land with fire safe landscaping.
- Cal Fire