Some areas may be more prone than others, but wildfires can happen anywhere in the U.S., according to Ready.gov. Wildfires can be caused by natural phenomena, like lightning, or by humans (accidentally or intentionally), and can start in national parks, wilderness areas or even your backyard. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were more than 67,000 wildfires that burned over 5.5 million acres in 2016 in the U.S. Those fires resulted in the destruction of 4,312 structures, including 3,000 homes and more than 70 commercial buildings, says the National Fire Protection Association.
Of course, loss of property is secondary compared to the potential for serious injury when evacuation notices are ignored or when residents flee too late. Here are some wildfire evacuation tips to help you prepare.
Preparing what supplies you might need and what actions you should take can help you and your family stay safe, says Ready.gov. This preparation may include:
If there are wildfires in your area, prepare yourself and your family to evacuate on short notice. Local TV and radio outlets may issue a fire weather watch, which means fire weather conditions are possible during the next 12 to 72 hours, according to Ready.gov. Consider these tips from Ready.gov for what to do once your local weather service issues a fire weather watch:
Proper planning and following some simple precautions can help you and your family stay safe during emergency events like wildfires.
Originally published June 2012.