Why Talk About Wildfire?

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The Disaster Center
More and more people are making their homes in woodland settings in or near forests, rural areas, or remote mountain sites. There, homeowners enjoy the beauty of the environment but face the very real danger of wildfire. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes.

What Are Wildfires, and What Causes Them?

There are three different classes of wildfires. A "surface fire" is the most common type and burns along the floor of a forest, moving slowly and killing or damaging trees. A "ground fire" is usually started by lightning and burns on or below the forest floor in the human layer down to the mineral soil. "Crown fires" spread rapidly by wind and move quickly by jumping along the tops of trees.

Learn if you are at risk from wildfire by contacting your local fire department, forestry service, or other emergency response agencies.

Awareness Information

More than four out of every five forest fires are started by people. Negligent human behavior, such as smoking in forested areas or improperly extinguishing campfires, is the cause of many forest fires. Another cause of forest fires is lightning.

Plan for Wildfire

Develop a Family Disaster Plan. Please see the "Family Disaster Plan" section for general family planning information. Develop a wildfire-specific plan. Learn about your area's wildfire risk.Contact your local fire department, forestry service or other emergency response agencies for information on fire laws and wildfire risk.

If you are at risk from wilfire:

Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit

Please see the section "Disaster Supplies Kit" for general supplies kit information. Wildfire-specific supplies should include the following:

What to Tell Children

Please see the "Fire" section for more children's messages.

How to Protect Your Property

Houses and Buildings

Plants and Vegetation

Reducing Fire Hazards

Media and Community Education Ideas

How to Prevent Wildfire

What to Do When Wildfire Threatens

Inside Your Home

Outside Your Home

What to Do if Evacuation Is Necessary

What to Do After a Wildfire

Returning to Your Home

Drinking Water

For information pertaining to emergency planning and response in your own state, please see our state pages:
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