Returning to a home that you 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 advice on personal protective equipment (PPE). For example, wear leather gloves and heavy-soled shoes to protect hands and feet. Wet debris down to minimize breathing dust particles. Beware of hot spots, which can flare up without warning.
  • Check for embers on the roof first; then the attic. Douse hot spots.
  • If a fire begins to break, ask your neighbors to help fight it. The water you set aside in advance will come in handy now. If the power is out, try connecting a hose to the outlet on your water heater.
  • For several hours after the fire, maintain a “fire watch.” Re-check for smoke and sparks throughout the house.
  • Watch for ash pits and mark them for safety. Warn housemates and neighbors to stay clear. Keep animals under control, and watch them closely. Hidden embers and hot spots could burn paws or hooves. Properly dispose of cleaning products, paint, batteries, and damaged fuel containers to reduce threats to health and safety. Ensure your food and water are safe.
  • Discard any food that has been exposed to heat, smoke ,or soot.
  • Never use water that might be contaminated, even in small amounts, to wash dishes, brush teeth, prepare food, wash hands, make ice, or make baby formula.

For more information on wildfires, see: