Prepare For Wildfire: READY, SET, GO!

Whether you live in the Foothills of Palo Alto or the flatlands closer to the Bay, preparing for wildfires makes a lot of sense. The wildfire threat is significant across the Santa Cruz Mountain range and is highlighted in the Santa Clara County and Palo Alto local hazard mitigation plans. In the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI), there are over 130 residences, a handful of businesses, and public infrastructure that is at risk. The City of Palo Alto works every year to minimize the risk; we have a multi-functional team that works on our wildfire risk reduction programs. But, we can only do so much. Every property owner must take the steps to prepare for wildfires. Learn more with CAL FIRE's Ready, Set, Go resources below.

Get Ready Image  Get Set Image  Go Image 
Create defensible space and harden your home to increase your home's chance of surviving a wildfire.      Learn how (PDF) Use this guide (PDF) to prepare your evacuation plan and emergency supply kit. Evacuate as soon as it is recommended by fire officials. Use this guide (PDF) to learn how to evacuate.


Palo Alto Wildfire Planning Map

The map featured below is intended to assist you in planning to Get Set and Go. Know ahead of time the various evacuation routes from your property, and if you can’t evacuate, know the location of the nearest safety zone.

When to Evacuate

Leave as soon as evacuation is recommended by fire officials. Don’t wait to be ordered by authorities to leave. In an intense wildfire, they may not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate!

The terms “Voluntary” and “Mandatory” are often used to describe evacuation orders, however, some local jurisdictions may use other terminology such as “Precautionary” and “Immediate Threat.” These terms are used to alert you to the significance of the danger.

Know ahead of time how you're going to evacuate. Understand ALL the routes in and out of your neighborhood. If you can't leave using an evacuation route, know the nearest Safety Zone, an area relatively free from flammable vegetation or materials that provides refuge from a fire. The above planning map can be used to help your plan.

What to do if You Become Trapped

While in your vehicle:

  • Park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation.
  • Turn off the heater and air conditioner.
  • Close all vehicle windows and air vents.
  • Cover yourself with a wool or cotton blanket or jacket.
  • Lie on vehicle floor.
  • Call 9-1-1 and give your location.

While on foot:

  • Go to an area clear of vegetation, a ditch or depression on level ground if possible.
  • Lie face down and cover up your body.
  • Call 9-1-1 and give your location.

While in your home:

  • Keep your family together.
  • Call 9-1-1 and give your location.
  • Fill sinks and tubs with cold water.
  • Keep doors and windows closed, but unlocked.
  • Stay inside your house.
  • Stay away from outside walls and windows.
  • Keep doors and windows closed, but unlocked.

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