Arizona's hot, dry climate is perfect for wildfires. In fact, more than 1,500 wildfires occur in Arizona each year. Wildfires often begin unnoticed and can spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. You can mitigate the effects of wildfire if you prepare your home, business and family. Follow the Ready, Set, Go! program to learn what actions to take before an emergency and during an evacuation.
Before a Wildfire
Get Ready - prepare your family
- Build an emergency kit
- Make a family communications plan
- Plan several escape routes away from your home - by car and by foot.
- People start most wildfires—Learn how to properly extinguish a campfire, and find out how you can promote and practice wildfire safety.
- "Know Before You Go": Check the current fire danger and fire restrictions before heading out onto national, tribal, state and local lands.
Prepare your home and property
- Have Their Backs. Learn to live Firewise®.
- Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind. Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.
- Create a 30 to 100 foot safety zone around your home. Within this area, you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat.
- Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
- Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.
- Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your home. Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your name and address.
During a Wildfire
- If you are not ordered to evacuate, take the following actions to be SET just in case:
- Arrange housing at a friend or relative’s home outside the affected area.
- Wear protective clothing when outside – sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothes, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves and a handkerchief to protect your face.
- Place valuable papers and items "you can't live without" inside the car in the garage, ready for quick departure. Any pets still with you should be in the car.
- Turn on outside lights and leave a light on in every room to make the house more visible in heavy smoke.
- If advised to evacuate, make sure you Go! immediately.
- Take your emergency supplies kit, lock your home and stay on designated evacuation routes. Avoid closed areas.
- Evacuate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area.
- If you choose to ignore this advisement, you must understand emergency services may not be able to assist you further.
- Follow instructions from emergency personnel.
After a Wildfire
- If you have evacuated, do not enter your home until fire officials say it is safe.
- Avoid damaged or fallen power lines, poles and downed wires.
- Follow public health guidance on safe cleanup of fire ash and safe use of masks.
- Know the emergency plans for your area.
- Be aware of post-wildfire hazards, primarily flooding and landslides.
- Large-scale wildfires dramatically alter the terrain and ground conditions. Wildfires leave the ground charred, barren, and unable to absorb water, creating conditions for flash flooding and mudflows. Flood risk remains significantly higher until vegetation is restored—up to 5 years after a wildfire.
- Flooding after fire is often more severe, as debris and ash left from the fire can form mudflows. As rainwater moves across charred and denuded ground, it can also pick up soil and sediment and carry it in a stream of floodwaters.
- Call 9-1-1 to report house and wildland fires. Tell the operator where the fire is, what is burning, how fast and in what direction the fire is moving and how tall the flames are.
- Know Before You Go. Get Fire Restriction information at http://firerestrictions.us/az or 1-877-864-6985.
- For information on active wildfires in Arizona, visit the state InciWeb webpage.
- Stay informed with daily, weekly and monthly Fire Potential Outlook reports from SWCC Predictive Services.
- Monitor local air quality conditions.
- Check out these additional resources: