What to Do if Evacuated Due to Fire

Dry summers means heavy chance of fires for many Canadian communities. A wildfire can ignite without warning and then quickly spread and cover acres of land.  These fires are caused by more than a campfire getting out of control as extremely hot temperatures and dry conditions can also spark a flame. It seems every year we are hearing about more and more fires and people having to leave their homes. It is a stressful situation and being prepared will help you cope somewhat. If you find yourself in the position of being evacuated, contact the Canadian Red Cross. They will let you know of local resources and help with temporary funds if needed.

During dry season fires can start from the smallest spark. Everyone is hoping for rain, however lightening is also a threat. It is a scary situation for all that are involved. Those who risk everything to fight these fires are heroes and their bravery and love for their community is amazing.

Anyone who lives in an area where wildfires have been known to occur will want to take the necessary precautions to try to keep their homes from catching fire. This emergency situation is different from others. You are not looking to stay put in your home. Having supplies at your home will not do you any good. You will need to leave for your safety and your family. Having a packed bag ready to go on hand is a must. I know many who pack up their vans and campers this time of year, just to be safe.

Here are 4 things that everyone must do regularly to prepare for a potential wildfire:

  1. Homeowners should keep their roofs and gutters clean of debris.
  2. There should be nothing within thirty feet of a home that can catch on fire. For example, dry leaves, stacks of old papers, brush, and wood piles should be located far away from a home.
  3. Homeowners will want long hoses connected to water supplies, so that they can wet down their home if a fire starts. They can also fill garbage cans and large buckets with water to use in an emergency.
  4. Every homeowner will want to make sure that their homeowner’s policy is up to date and that they have documented everything inside their home.

Some of the time, people do have an opportunity to prepare for an evacuation for a wildfire.  If this is the case, people should do as much of the following as possible before they leave:

  • Shut all windows and doors, but do not lock them
  • Remove all flammable curtains and other window treatments
  • Close metal shutters
  • Move all furniture to the center of the rooms
  • Shut off the gas and turn off all pilot lights
  • Leave all the lights on inside and outside the home – this allows firefighters to see the house through the smoke
  • Turn off the air conditioning
  • Take all patio furniture, toys, trash cans, and everything else into the home
  • Turn off all propane and move grills away from the home
  • Fill as many buckets with water as possible and make sure long hoses are connected to the water supply
  • Turn off lawn sprinklers
  • Leave a ladder near the house, so that firefighters can use it if needed
  • Place an emergency kit inside the car along with any other must-have items

It is important that everyone evacuates as soon as they are told to, because fire is unpredictable and it can spread quicker than the firefighters think it will.  Of course, if the fire seems to be getting closer to a home, people should leave even if they have not received an evacuation warning.  Everyone should get into their car and then call the authorities to let them know the fire is getting closer to that area as they are driving to a safe location.

No one should try to stay in their homes as a wildfire is burning around them, because the results could be devastating.  A home can be replaced as can belongings, but people cannot.


  1. Elizabeth Matthiesen says

    Living in an area where a wild fire might happen I’d hope that most people are prepared. I should think it’s the leaving immediately that causes problems, or the car/van/RV doesn’t have enough gas to get them clear of danger. I feel for all the people affected by such natural catastrophes, it must be a horrific and devastating experience.

  2. This is a great post to share! My Dad lives in Saskatchewan and they’re receiving smoke from BC, 2 provinces away! Scary stuff to deal with.

  3. Susan T. says

    This is us this summer. We haven’t been evacuated but we have a fire only 20km from us so we’re all on edge waiting for the order. I think it’s under control now but it’s definitely scary to have to take inventory of what you would grab if evacuated.

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