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Wildfire Pre-Evacuation Steps for Your Home

Do you know what to do if a wildfire is approaching? When wildfire may threaten and time allows, follow these last-minute steps to protect your home.


Home Wildfire Evacuation Steps 

A checklist to prepare your home for evacuation and increase its chance of survival.


  • Stay vigilant and monitor wildfire
    • Ensure the FEMA App is set up to receive alerts from the National Weather Service.
    • Watch for community alerts in your area. Stay aware of the latest emergency evacuation updates including recommended routes.
    • Follow evacuation instructions by local authorities via official websites, social media accounts and local news outlets.

*Note: Defending a home against wildfire can be extremely dangerous and your safety should be top priority.

  • Activate your wildfire plan


  • Double check your 0-5-foot Home Ignition Zone
    • Bring in combustible items from your front porch, deck, and around your home—like door mats, patio furniture, cushions, trash/recycling bins, planters, and toys.
    • Clear tree debris on your deck and this zone.
    • Move propane grills as far from your home as possible, ideally at least 30 feet away. Consider proximity to your neighbor’s home when relocating a propane grill.
    • Secure fence gate(s) in an open position if you have a combustible fence that attaches to your home.
  • Remove debris from your roof and gutters
    • Clean debris from your roof, gutters, and downspouts.
    • Place a ladder near or against your home to allow firefighters quick access to your roof if needed.
  • Cover and clean vents
    • If you have metal wire mesh vent covers, remove any debris buildup.
    • If you don’t have 1/8-inch metal wire mesh covering vents, temporarily cover all outdoor vents with duct tape to block embers from entering. These covers should be removed once the fire and ember threat passes.
    • Ensure your dryer vent flap/louver is closed.
  • Shut off gas supply
    It is standard practice by emergency response to shut off the gas supply to your home to prevent feeding a fire. Doing so yourself further reduces risks to your home.

    • Turn the handwheel clockwise to close valves.
    • Do not move propane cylinders anywhere near a house.
    • If you have a large stationary propane tank, turn it off and remove weeds and other combustible debris from at least 10 feet around it.
  • Consider the water supply
    • Do not leave sprinklers on. It can negatively affect water pressure needed by firefighters. Instead, leave buckets of water around your home.


  • Move interior combustibles
    • Move combustible items like curtains, window coverings, and furniture away from windows, doors, and vents.
  • Ensure your property is easily seen
    • Leave exterior lights on to help firefighters see your home in smoky conditions if power has not been turned off to your area.
  • Close doors and windows
    • Close all interior and exterior doors and windows. Exterior doors and windows are susceptible to fire getting inside the home and igniting it from the inside out. Closing interior doors will help stop the spread of fire.
  • Move your vehicle out of your garage
    • Back your car into your driveway and pack it with essentials so you’re ready to go quickly.
  • Evacuate and stay safe
    • Follow instructions and evacuate immediately if authorities tell you to do so.
    • Evacuate if you feel it is unsafe to stay. DO NOT wait to receive an emergency notification if you feel threatened by a fire.
    • Leave your property.

Critical Home Prep

These fundamental, critical steps serve as a starting point before progressing to the next set of actions. If you’re ready, proceed to Exterior Home Upgrades.

Exterior Home Upgrades

After addressing the critical prep, this group of larger home improvements will give your home additional levels of protection. 

Wildfire-Resistant Yard

When defensible space is thoughtfully created and well-maintained, it will increase the likelihood your home will survive a wildfire. 

Home Evacuation Steps

When wildfire may threaten and time allows, follow theselast-minute steps to protect your home. 

Wildfire Prepared Home

If you reside in California and have completed all critical home prep, you can apply for a designation to receive a certificate to show your insurer.