Wildfire Evacuation Checklist in the Face of Evacuation Orders

wildfire evacuation checklist

With several fires around Southern California and the Los Angeles area, a lot of people are on alert given potential evacuation orders. If you are concerned about what you will do in case of an evacuation order, here’s a quick wildfire evacuation checklist for you to keep in mind.

Wildfire Evacuation Checklist

There are different tiers for things you need to include as part of your wildfire evacuation checklist. After all, you don’t always have to leave right away. Sometimes you will have some time before evacuating. Here’s a quick checklist that can help you make sure you are taking everything with you in case of an emergency.

In Case of Immediate Evacuation Order

The following checklist is for when you receive an evacuation order to leave your home as soon as possible. Try preparing for this before you receive the order itself.


  • Keep your phone fully charged.
  • Notify and update someone out of the area with your phone number, location, and status.
  • Leave a note with your contact information and your out of area contact’s on the fridge or the front window.
  • Check on or call your neighbors to make sure that they prepare as well.

For Your Household:

  • Everyone in the household should wear long sleeves and long pants, preferably wool or heavy cotton.
  • If possible, wear full-coverage goggles, leather gloves, and head protection.
  • Cover everyone’s faces with a face mask and a bandana or a scarf over the mask.
  • Carry a headlamp and/or a flashlight.
  • Carry your car keys, walled, identifications, and spare batteries.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Put spares of everything you might need in your vehicle.

Pets and Animals:

  • Locate your pets and place them in carriers immediately.
  • Make sure that all your pets are wearing tags.
  • Place the carriers, along with fresh water and extra food, near the front door.

In Case of an Evacuation Warning

Now, this checklist is for when you receive an evacuation warning rather than an immediate order. The first thing you should do is make sure you have everything outlined above. However, should you have additional time before you evacuate, you can worry about the following. Please note that it’s preferable not to wait for a strict order before evacuating.

Inside the House:

  • Shut all windows and doors (including the interior ones) and leave them unlocked.
  • Remove combustible window shades and curtains; close metal shutters.
  • Move furniture to the center of the room, away from windows.
  • Leave indoor and outdoor lights on.
  • Shut off HVAC and ceiling fans.

Outside and in the Neighborhood:

  • Place any combustible outdoor items (such as patio furniture, toys, doormats, trash cans, and others) inside a garage or at least 30’ from structures. You can also try placing them in a pool.
  • Shut off gas at the meter or propane tank. Additionally, move small tanks at least fifteen feet away from combustibles.
  • Connect garden hoses with squeeze grip nozzles to outdoor spigots for use by firefighters just in case.
  • Fill water buckets and place around outside of the house, especially near decks and fences.
  • Clean your gutters and blow leaves away from the house.
  • Back your car into the driveway, loaded with everything you might need, with doors and windows closed.
  • Prop open fence and side gates just in case.
  • Place any ladders you might have at the corners of structures for firefighters.
  • Seal attic and ground vents with precut plywood or metal covers if time allows. Even duct tape can protect these crevices from ember entry.
  • Patrol your property and monitor the conditions. Leave if you spot fires ignite or conditions change.

For more information, be sure to watch out for fire alerts and recommendations from fire departments.

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