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Wildfire approaching houses

A wildfire is a fire that rages out of control in the wilderness, like a forest or countryside. Wildfires often begin unnoticed. These fires are usually triggered by lightning or accidents, such as campers or hikers that did not take care of their campfire properly. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes.


Visit the FEMA library to download more facts about Wildfires


  • Build an emergency kit.
  • Make a family communications plan.
  • Make sure your family has smoke alarms on every level of your home, especially in bedrooms.
  • If you don’t have a smoke alarm, check with your local fire department about getting a free one. Ask your parents to check them every month and to change the batteries every year.
  • Help your parents to rake the lawn and rid it of leaves and twigs. These can catch fire if a wildfire is near your home.
  • Never play with matches. You could accidentally start a fire.


  • Listen to emergency officials if they say to evacuate.
  • If you see a wildfire, call 911. You may be the first person to have spotted it!
  • Help your parents fill outdoor tubs, pools, or  garbage cans with water.
  • Help your parents place important papers and family photographs inside the car, inside the garage. Put your pets in the car, too, so if you need to leave immediately, everything is packed.
  • Put important things that won’t be damaged by water in a pool or pond.
  • Turn on outside lights and leave all the lights on inside the house. This will help it be seen in heavy smoke.


  • If you are at home, keep a “fire watch.” That means, look for smoke or sparks throughout the house. If you see anything, tell a grown-up immediately!
  • If you have evacuated, do not go home until safety officials say it’s okay.
  • Stay away from downed or dangling power lines. They could electrocute you.
  • Look out for ash pits or hidden embers. Stay away. They could burn you.
  • Do not use water from the faucet unless emergency officials say it’s okay.


Am I at Risk?

Wildfires are common in wildland settings where there are many forests and during periods of little rainfall. At Yellowstone National Park, the average time when fires are reported is 3:03 in the afternoon! This is because fires burn more strongly during the middle of the day when the sun is very hot.

Words to Know!

Smoke Alarms

Sensors attached to the ceiling that sound an alarm when they sense smoke

Fire Extinguisher

A fire protection device that sprays foam and is used to help put out small fires


Leaving an area that has been declared unsafe