Wildfire season is around the corner in California

Here are some ways to prepare for possible danger


Wildfire preparations for residents become increasingly necessary as California’s weather heats up for summer. (Photo Illustration by Alyssa Branum)

Wildfires are a national concern in the United States every year, especially in California. Almost 2.5 million acres of land were lost during the top five fires of 2020 alone, according to CalFire’s Redbook, a collection of fire statistics and records in the state every year. 

The season for these fires usually takes place during summer, from June to August, when the weather gets hotter. Multiple different factors such as lightning strikes, dry grass, and camping accidents are to blame for why these fires start. 

Here are some of the ways that one can be better prepared for an emergency with information gathered from American Red Cross and CalFire wildfire guides:

  1.  Make a plan of action

Figure out what to grab, where to go, and who to contact in case of an emergency evacuation due to a wildfire spreading. 

   2.  Create an emergency kit 

Gather enough for three days worth of supplies needed for these situations, such as a portable radio and charger, food, water, and extra clothes.

  3.  Find local shelters and escape routes

Know where the shelters are nearby or an out-of-town contact and alternative roads to get there, including how long it takes. 

   4.  Keep track of the fires

Use a fire locator map to see where the fires are in the area and details such as how far away or how big it has grown. 

   5.  In-home prevention

Make sure to have working smoke detectors, sprinklers, and fire extinguishers in all rooms of the residence. Keep smoke outside the home with portable air filters and know how to turn off water and gas when and if necessary.

  6. Records and documents

Apart from being prepared in case of evacuation or in real-time disasters, there is also long-term preparation as well. Making an inventory in a fire/flood safety deposit box of important papers and lists of home possessions such as birth certificates and collectibles will help in the aftermath. It will be easier to get reimbursement for damage and losses caused by these natural disasters if adequate home insurance has been covered. 

These guides are available online and include directions for people with disabilities and special needs offered and prepared by the American Red Cross. Creating a support network for getting supplies and transportation are two of the listed options to better prepare for these scenarios.