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.


Sign Up For Emergency Alerts

AlertSCC is an opt-in Santa Clara County specific alerting system. If you do not sign up, you will not receive these important alerts. This system provides you with the RIGHT information at the RIGHT time and will help you make the RIGHT decisions to stay safe during an emergency or disaster.  

Sign Up for AlertSCC


Know Your Zone

Knowing your zone is critical to the evacuation process. If there is a wildfire or emergency situation, this is how you will check if you are in an impacted area.  Those living or working in the Palo Alto Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) should all know your evacuation zone.   


The Santa Clara County Fire Department has adopted Zonehaven to provide specific, timely and accurate information regarding evacuations.   Zonehaven provides a shared map with integrated databases that can be relied upon by residents and first responders for communicating and learning about approaching fire and other emergency conditions, and managing evacuations and safe post-disaster return to residences.

  1. Prior to any emergency, take time to review your zone. 
  • Navigate to
  • Enter your address in the Search bar. 
  • In the pop-up box, you will see your Zone, Status and other helpful information. Make note of your Zone.

2. During a wildfire emergency determine the status of you zone. 

  • Navigate to
  • View the map of area evacuations.
  • Search for specific addresses to determine if they are affected by an order, warning, or other advisement.
  • Be prepared: Get Set and Go if necessary.  

3. Watch this short video of "How to use Zonehaven". 


When To Evacuate

Leave as soon as evacuation is recommended by public safety officials. If you are unsure, 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!  Be ready to Go.  

California has adopted standard evacuation terminology:

Evacuation Order: There is an immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area under evacuation order is now lawfully closed to public access.


Evacuation Warning: There is a potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.


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  planning map below can be used to help you 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.




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.

Map Key

Wildfire Cameras

You can view a network of cameras online via the California Alert web portal.   For our immediate area this includes Black Mountain, Montebello Reservoir, Foothills Park, the Stanford Dish, and Jasper Ridge.  .  

ALERTWildfire is a consortium of The University of Nevada, Reno, University of California San Diego, and the University of Oregon providing fire cameras and tools to help firefighters and first responders:

  1. Discover, locate, and confirm fire ignition.
  2. Quickly scale fire resources up or down.
  3. Monitor fire behavior during containment.
  4. Help evacuations through enhanced situational awareness.
  5. Observe contained fires for flare-ups.