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Wildfires can occur anywhere. Their spontaneous development could leave you with little or no time to escape their path. Thus, it’s important to be ready, even if there is no impending threat. If you live or travel in areas that are vulnerable to wildfires, here are some guidelines for staying safe.

Driving near a wildfire

Driving near a wildfire is dangerous. Even if you see that the road ahead of you is clear, the smoke from a wildfire can quickly change direction and density. Before you know it, your clear pathway ahead could become enveloped with thick smoke, preventing you from seeing where you are headed.

Avoid driving near fires, even if it takes you farther from your destination. If you do find yourself having to travel near a blaze, keep your windows rolled up. Turn on your headlights so that you will be visible to other motorists in the area. Always carry an emergency kit in your vehicle, and don’t leave home without a cell phone.

Preparing for a wildfire in your area

If your area is threatened by a wildfire, prepare before it strikes. Clear the leaves and bushes around your house as they could ignite when the temperature climbs. Clear your gutters and eaves of dry leaves to prevent embers from igniting your home.

Enclose your deck and patio with wire mesh to prevent the accumulation of debris and other combustible materials, which could start a fire later. Be sure to remove all flammable materials from your yard.

Keeping your lawn green and hydrated is a natural defense against an approaching wildfire. If your lawn is already dry and brown, cut it low.

Inspect your roof. Replace loose or missing shingles to keep wildfire sparks from entering your home and starting a blaze.

Emergency plan

Have an emergency plan ready in the event of a wildfire as you may need to evacuate your home. Put together a 72-hour emergency supply kit, and keep it in an accessible place where you can grab it and go. Keep copies of your important documents handy so that you can evacuate with them, too, especially your home insurance papers and personal identification.

Develop an evacuation plan and route for everyone in the family. Designate a meeting place in the event that family members need to evacuate separately. Make sure that everyone has emergency phone numbers handy.

Stay safe from potential wildfires by preparing prudently in advance.