In an effort to help Mountain Area residents prepare in case of a wildfire, Cal Fires offers the following guidelines on what to do before, during and after a fire:
What to do before a wildland fire
* Create defensible space to separate your home from flammable vegetation and materials (minimum of 100 feet clearance).
* 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 eight 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 arrestors for each chimney.
* Clean chimneys and check and maintain spark arrestors 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 and 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 reentering 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.