Guide to Wildfire Safety

What to Do if You're Trapped

Wildfires spread quickly, and there's not always enough time to get to safety without encountering the fire. If you're stuck outside, try to find a clearing where there aren't a lot of trees and branches to fuel the fire. If you're on a mountain, the windward side is usually safer because it's not as dry. Cover your nose and mouth to minimize smoke inhalation and stay put until the fire passes through.

If you're in a car, you're safer than being outside, so don't get out unless it's an absolute emergency. Roll up your windows and close your air vents to help keep out the smoke. Then turn on your lights and drive slowly, but not through heavy smoke. If you get to the point where you have to stop, then you should leave your lights on, get on the floor and cover up with a blanket, coat or whatever you have with you. Stay down until you're sure the fire has passed.

Related Articles


  • American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles. "Wildfire Season is Here: Safety Tips to Help You Prepare." July 23, 2010. (Aug. 20, 2010)
  • Institute for Business & Home Safety. "Is Your Home Protected From Wildfire Disaster?" 2001. (Aug. 20, 2010)
  • USA Today. "Southern California Wildfires: What you need to know." July 30, 2010. (Aug. 20, 2010)
  • U.S. Fire Administration. "Wildland Fires: A Historical Perspective." December 2001. (Aug. 20, 2010)

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