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How to Stay Safe During Wildfire Season

As we approach the latter half of summer, we are also nearing wildfire season in most of the U.S. Wildfires are more dangerous than ever because of climate change, but with the proper tips and tools, can be avoided and prepared for. Here are a couple of ways to stay safe before, during, and after wildfire season. 

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Preparing before wildfire season 

Having the necessary preparations before wildfire season is critical. Here are some things to do before the fires start: 

  • Gather emergency supplies and extra resources. The CDC recommends respirators to stay safe from smoke, as well as air filters, water, food rations, batteries, helmets, tools, flashlights, and a fan. 
  • In case of more serious wildfires, evacuation may be necessary. Before the season, you should be aware of your area’s evacuation protocol, exit routes, and shelter locations. Have a plan for pets and livestock.  
  • Keep an eye out for weather reports that can help you get a head start on preparing. Notice significantly elevated temperatures or the lack of rain for an extended period of time, and other warnings. 
  • Avoid starting fires outdoors for any reason. Barbecues, backyard cleaning, and campfires should be avoided during these seasons to eliminate the risk of starting wildfires. 
  • Smoke is the biggest risk to your health during fire season. Having updated smoke detectors can be crucial for your health and safety. 

Staying safe during the season & while fires are happening 

With proper preparation, staying safe during fires becomes a lot easier. Here are some things to keep in mind: 

  • Watch out for official warnings and fire reports in your area and surrounding communities.  
  • Staying away from smoke is important when it comes to safety. Use respirators, portable air filters, and mouth coverings to avoid breathing smoke. 
  • Stock a room with supplies that can be sealed off from the outside. This can ensure the safety of stocked supplies and the air quality inside the room.  
  • In case of emergency, you may consider evacuating before the fire reaches your area. Use warnings and weather reports to determine your next course of action is key - it may be the only way to ensure your safety. 
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Staying safe after wildfires 

After the smoke has cleared and the fires have died, it is important to come back and clean up carefully. Here is how to safely clean and manage after fires: 

  • In the event of an evacuation, only return when an official report says it's clear to come back. 
  • Make sure to wear safety gear while you clean, ash and smoke are dangerous to you. Gloves, protective eyewear, and respirators are recommended.  
  • Be careful around roads, bridges, and damaged buildings. The fires may have caused more damage than can be seen. Be careful when driving and maneuvering around damaged spaces.