Before, during and after a wildfire

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