Evacuating Your Home

When You Have to Evacuate
What to Bring and What to Do

If wildfire is threatening your home and you need to evacuate...

Attire and Equipment:

  • Wear only cotton or wool clothes
  • Proper attire includes long pants, long sleeved shirt or jacket, and boots
  • Carry gloves, a handkerchief to cover your face, water to drink, and goggles
  • Keep a flashlight and portable radio with you at all times
  • Tune in to a local radio station and listen for instructions

Family Members and Pets:

  • If possible, evacuate all family members not essential to preparing the house for wildfire first
  • Make sure to designate a safe meeting place and contact person
  • Relay your plans to the contact person
  • Evacuate pets
  • Contact the local Humane Society for pet assistance if needed

Vehicles:

  • Place vehicles in the garage, pointing out with keys in the ignition
  • Roll up the windows
  • Close the garage door, but leave it unlocked
  • If applicable, disconnect the electric garage door opener so that the door can be opened manually in the event of a power outage

Essential Items:

  • Important documents (bank, IRS, trust, investment, insurance policy, birth certificates, medical records)
  • Credit and ATM cards
  • Medications
  • Prescription glasses
  • Driver's license
  • Passport
  • Computer backup files
  • Inventory of home contents (consider videotaping if there's time)
  • Photograph the exterior of the house and landscape if there's time
  • Address book
  • Cell phone and charger
  • Personal toiletries
  • Change of clothing
  • Family photo albums and videos - only if you have time!
  • Family heirlooms - only if you have time!
  • Place essential items in the car, however, not until you are about to leave!

Ways to Prepare Your Home if There is Time:

Inside the House:

  • Close all interior doors
  • Leave a light on in each room
  • Remove lightweight, non fire-resistant curtains and other combustible materials from around windows
  • Close fire-resistant drapes, shutters, and venetian blinds
  • Turn off all pilot lights
  • Move overstuffed furniture, such as couches and easy chairs, to the center of the room

Outside the House:

  • Place combustible patio furniture in the house or garage
  • Shut off propane at the tank or natural gas at the meter
  • Close all exterior vents if possible
  • Prop a ladder against the house to provide firefighters with easy access to the roof
  • Make sure that all garden hoses are connected to faucets and attach nozzles set on "spray"
  • Close all exterior doors and windows
  • Leave exterior doors unlocked
  • Turn on outside lights
  • If available and if there's time, cover windows, attic openings, and vents with plywood that is at least one-half inch thick
  • Wet down wood shake or shingle roofs before leaving
  • Fill trash cans and buckets with water and place where firefighters can find them
  • If you have an emergency water source (pool, pond, etc.) and/or portable pump, clearly mark its availability so it can be seen from the street

Be prepared! It will likely be dark, smoky, windy, and hot. There may be airborne burning embers, no power, no telephone service, and poor water pressure.

REMEMBER, THERE IS NOTHING YOU OWN WORTH YOUR LIFE! PLEASE EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY WHEN ASKED BY FIRE FIGHTERS AND LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS.

Information compiled from LivingWithFire.info

FIRE LINKS

Evacuation Information
Are you prepared to evacuate in case of an emergency?  

InciWeb: Wildfire Information
Current wildfires across the nation. Information provided by multiple agencies. 

CAL FIRE: Current Fire Information
Current California wildfire information.

CAL FIRE
The homepage of CAL FIRE, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Air Pollution: San Luis Obispo County
Information about the air quality in San Luis Obispo County.

Air Pollution: Santa Barbara County
Check out the air quality for Santa Barbara County.

Red Flag Warnings
Warnings from the National Weather Service. 

Los Padres National Forest

San Luis Obispo County Fire Department

Santa Barbara County Fire Department

Monterey County Fire Information

GeoMac Wildland Fire Support
Fire Maps

US Drought Monitor