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Preparing for a Wildfire – Are You Ready?

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 1, 2022
Preparing for a Wildfire – Are You Ready?

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Wildfires are typically associated with the summer months but in truth, they can occur anywhere and anytime.  Whereas typical causes are lightening, droughts and freaks of nature, human carelessness as well as human intent and maliciousness can cause a wildfire as well.

In todays blast from the near past, I share an article I wrote a while back with suggestions for preparing your home and your family for a wildfire.  While this information may not seem relevant to you now, the suggestions for prepping your home well in advance of any threat are timeless.  When a wildfire is headed your way, it will be too late to take these preventative measures and when that happens, evacuation may be your only option.

Preparing for a Wildfire

How to Prepare Your Home and Your Family for a Wildfire


From time to time I feature bonus articles that are buried in the Backdoor Survival archives.  I hope you enjoy this one.

For additional tips on making your home fire safe, consider downloading a free homeowner’s checklist:  How to Make Your Home Fire Safe.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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9 Responses to “Preparing for a Wildfire – Are You Ready?”

  1. Australian bush fires have a blow torch behind them.

    I now live in a fire prone area, staffed with volunteers. The old timers say that 2019 or 2020 is when the Grampians mountains might just explode.
    When you have a fire in your area, don’t wait run like hell. We have a stay or go policy. Only stay if you have the equipment to protect the house.
    Also have up to date maps of the area, and practice your evacuation drill.

    The fires of black Saturday were preceede by high temperatures, hot northerly winds and no rain. Believe me it felt like an oven.

  2. I forgot to add that the foam is biodegradable…just rinse it off when it’s safe to do so. I’m not a representative or anything for that company. I just truly like having the product here in case of emergency. CA is in the middle of a drought and we may have to use this product again this year.

  3. Just a note to say that Primo Pumps has a hose attachment that has a cartridge in it that lasts one hour. It enables you to spray Class A foam on your building, trees, etc. and protects it from wildfire embers that fly about during a fire. Spray your vents of your house to keep embers from entering in. It also keeps the inside much cooler. We’ve used it before in a wildfire, sprayed around our yard and home and when we returned to our property, we had no damage as the fire went around our property. We were in a prairie situation, not a forest, so keep that in mind. I don’t know how well it would protect in a forest fire. But when in doubt, evacuate.

  4. For sure all this is good info and if I lived in a rural area and owned my home, I would take so many of these precautions. That said and with due respect to the first responders, I’d like to share a story.
    When I was 11, we moved to a rural area where the closest thing to a ‘grid’ was electricity running to most of the homes. There came a hot dry spell in August just before school was due to start. The area had gathered at the community school house (then used as a community center) for a dance and for the parents, a celebration of the kids getting back in school. lol
    Anyway, this was a community family event where everyone came. There was dancing and games and of course the traditional drinking outside. When someone rushed in to announce there was a wildfire west of town. It’s a night I can’t forget. Everyone raced to gather their kids and get to their cars. There was only one road west and it was filled with cars go TOWARDS the fire. As we crested a small rise, I could see the fire, I could also see our house was just one pasture east of the fire.
    This is where I saw a community work together. Everyone carried a blanket or two in their car. As we got to our house. People would climbing out of their cars and forming lines. One for fighting the fire and one for passing buckets of water. The first line was fighting the fire with dry blankets. As they went, the second line came behind and with water, they doused the ashes to make sure there were no embers. Then came us children with sticks stirring the ashes to make sure there were no hot spots.
    I share because in a collapse or when only civilians are available, there is a method of fighting when a community works together. Flight works if you and/or your family are the only ones there, but if you can community, in some cases, fighting can work. Just another reason for getting to know you neighbors well and perhaps even holding fire drills as a community just like cities and towns do. As a little girl of 11, that fear of fire and knowing my home could burn down, well, seeing what is possible, I learned to respect fire but know there are many different ways of doing things.

  5. I live in a Forest Service protected area. They have guidelines not unlike the ones you listed in your post. If you do not follow those guidelines and a fire starts on your property, you will be liable for the cost of the fire suppression. In my area, brush/forest fires are a yearly happening. We have purchased a product, (the name escapes me at the moment) that when a fire threatens, you spray on the house with a garden hose. It acts as a heat absorber and I suppose a fire suppressant. When the threat has passed, you hose it off with water. It does have to be applied within just a few hours before the fire threatens however. Fortunately we normally will have plenty of advance warning. Unfortunately we have only one escape route, although I wouldn’t hesitate using the river.

  6. One thing to be aware of is just how incredibly quickly a fire which is ‘merely threatening’ can overwhelm a neighborhood.

    A few years ago my wife’s cousin’s daughter, who lives on the southern outskirts of Pocatello, checked the area because of a nearby fire and decided things were still OK. Ten minutes later her husband ran in to evacuate them all. The fire destroyed most of the neighborhood a few minutes later.

    While the road in front of the their house acted as a firebreak and saved their house, every house on the other side was destroyed. We drove through a few days later: for a couple of miles there was nothing left on the other side of the road except for stumps, foundations, and chimneys.

    If a fire is threatening, getting out sooner is better than later. If a change in wind direction cuts off your escape route, you are not going to escape. Wild fires are not something to play chicken with: no one is going to give you a medal for being last one out.

    Another thought on protecting your house: If you are building new, or re-roofing a house in a wildfire area, seriously consider fire resistant roof material and siding. Some places require it, but many don’t. Sheet metal roofs apparently need special insulation under them as heat can penetrate ( I’m no expert!) but can do a much better job than asphalt shingles. Ditto ceramic tiles or slates.

  7. wild fire is my only real fear. I mow the 7 Acre field west of me before winter, it could wipe me out. i’m very remote, once started just no way to put it out, cedars & pines are on all the edges, very hot burn if started.

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