By Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna

If you are asked to evacuate during a wildfire when should you evacuate? 2, 4, 6 or 8 minutes or hours after it develops?

“Significant wildfires have begun very early this season and it will only get worse in July, August, Sept. and of course during Santa Ana wind season,” says Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna. “Now is the time to start pre-planning on what to do before a wildfire strikes near.”

If by chance you are near a wildfire, you may be asked to evacuate. Here are some things you should know if you find yourself in that situation:


When should I leave? It is wise to leave the area as soon as an evacuation orders are given. Don’t wait until the last minute. This will help you avoid being caught in a fire, smoke or traffic. This will also help firefighters keep roads clear, which allows them to work without obstacles.

Where should I go? Call your friends or family who live outside the threatened area and see if they can offer you a place to stay during the evacuation. Start making those contingency plans now. Your local fire department or city officials will also have designated evacuation shelters.

What should I take with me? Prepare an emergency kit well before a fire strikes. This kit should include things like a first aid kit, a three-day supply of non-perishable food and three gallons of water per person, spare keys and cash and medication. If time allows, you should pack easily carried valuables, chargers for your cell phone, laptop and anything irreplaceable such as family photos and important documents.

What about my cat, dog, bird, lizard? Ask friends and family if they can shelter your animals during an emergency. Keep a list of 24-hour numbers for pet-friendly places such as animal shelters, pet boarding facilities and veterinarians. Plan ahead!

What should I wear? If you need to go outside while there is an active fire nearby, put on some protective clothing like sturdy shoes, cotton clothes with long pants, a long-sleeved shirt and gloves.

Wildfires will be a topic we will cover more through the summer months. For more Info visit:

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