California wildfire season peaks in October and November, but the threat of fire persists year-round. With that in mind, we've gathered these resources to help you stay prepared.
Bookmark this web page in your phone's browser, so you can access it any time you need a reminder.
How to Prepare a 'Go Bag'
A filled "go bag" is essential to keeping your family ready for an emergency. It should contain items like a hand-crank-powered flashlight, spare clothes, paper maps, medications, and other items you might need.
Get the latest wildfire updates here:
- Governor’s Office of Emergency Services – California Wildfire Assistance: https://wildfirerecovery.caloes.ca.gov/
- Info about California wildfire emergency shelters and power outages: https://response.ca.gov/
- CalFire latest fire information: https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/
- Cal Fire phone number for the general public to call with questions about fires: 1-530-538-7826
- Ready.gov wildfire emergency resources: https://www.ready.gov/wildfires
- CDC - What to do before, during, and after a wildfire: https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/wildfires/index.html
- California Disaster Help and Information Center: https://www.cdss.ca.gov/disaster-help-center
- Free crisis counseling by phone, via U.S. HHS: Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor. (Available 24/7)
If you are having a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.
If you have to evacuate due to a wildfire, the checklist below has some suggestions to help keep you and your loved ones safe and your home protected.
Returning Home Safely Once Evacuation Is Lifted In Your Area
Protecting Your Home
- Insurance Information Institute: https://www.iii.org/article/insurance-for-wildfires
- United Policyholders: https://www.uphelp.org/resources/library/fire
Remember to Record Home Inventory Photos and Video
If your home is destroyed, you'll need to prove to your property insurance provider what you lost. Use your phone camera to record a walk-through of your home and valuables, and take photos of important documents. Then, save everything to the cloud. Watch video guide here to learn more.
Federal Disaster Relief
Click here for FEMA resource page for the Northern California Wildfires
What you will need before you apply:
- Address of loss (home or apartment that was damaged / destroyed)
- Names of everyone who lived there
- Insurance information (you must file a claim with your property insurance provider, if you have one, before applying for FEMA assistance)
- Social Security Number of the property owner
- Temporary address where you can receive mail from FEMA (friend or relative’s home, workplace, etc.)
- Bank account information (for direct deposit of FEMA funds, if desired)
Your refrigerator should be able to keep chilled food at a safe temperature for several hours if the door remains sealed shut. Freezers can keep food frozen even longer.
Make Sure Your Safe is Safe
During the 2017 North Bay Fires, we learned some homeowners' safes melted in the intense heat and flames. That led us to investigate how safes are rated for fire resistance.
Using a Generator? Consult the Manual
You may be tempted to buy or rent a generator to ride out power outages. If you do, carefully read the instruction manual -- all of it! -- and follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Failure to do so can result in serious injury or death.
How to Block Out Smoke
N95 masks are recommended by the FDA.
If you're sensitive to smoky air, or if you can't avoid being outdoors in areas downwind of wildfire, you may want to use a face mask. Ordinary dust masks won't do much good. The FDA recommends masks (also called respirators) rated N95 or higher. It's crucial you use the mask exactly as instructed by the manufacturer, or it won't work properly. Learn more here.
Price Gouging is Illegal -- But Only During Declared Emergencies
California law bans businesses from raising prices on certain items during an emergency, such as fuel, hotel rooms, and batteries. However, the law only applies during an emergency officially declared by local or state government.