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How to Prepare for a Wildfire With Your Pet

No one wants to think about wildfires, but the best way to deal with them is to prepare for them before they start. There are a variety of ways to get your home and pet ready for this kind of disaster. Here’s how to prepare for a wildfire with your pet.


Before a wildfire strikes your home, you want to make preparations that will limit structure damage within 30 feet from your home:

  • Use non-flammable decor whenever possible.
  • Rake away combustible leaves, pine needles and other materials.
  • Remove vegetation or vines that climb the walls of your home.
  • Put flammable patio furniture in storage.
  • Trim tree limbs that are 15 feet or closer to the ground.
  • Make sure you have a garden hose that can access all areas of your property.
  • Designate water sources (wells, swimming pools, fire hydrants, etc.) and make sure they are accessible for the fire department.

Take these steps between 100 and 30 feet from your home:

  • Trim tree limbs that are 8 feet or closer to the ground.
  • Create “fuel breaks” around your home with driveways or gravel paths.
  • Remove other flammable vegetation.

Take these steps between 200 to 100 feet from your home:

  • Remove the rest of any flammable vegetation.
  • When planting trees, make sure their branches do not touch.
  • Stack any firewood.

Take these steps inside your home:

  • Use Class A roofing material.
  • Put smoke alarms near every bedroom and in every zone of your home.
  • Test smoke alarms every month and replace the batteries once a year.
  • Install fire sprinklers.

Finally, create an evacuation plan and make sure everyone in your home is familiar with it. Make sure that wherever you plan to evacuate is pet-friendly, such as a shelter or hotel, since many are not. You should also microchip your pet. In addition, you need to create an emergency kit. It should contain:

  • Supplies for yourself (food, flashlight, radio, etc.)
  • Pet food and water
  • Pet food and water bowls
  • Pet medical records
  • Pet toys
  • Pet treats
  • Medication
  • Litter box and litter or poop bags
  • Pet bed
  • Pet carrier
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Harness
  • Blanket


During a wildfire, you need to pay close attention to emergency channels. Evacuate as soon as you are ordered to. Keep your emergency kit close by so you can make a quick exit. Do not leave your pets behind!!! Bring them with you and make sure they are all wearing a collar and an ID tag (click here to learn more about what to do if you must leave your pets behind).

Take these steps inside your home:

  • Close your windows and doors.
  • Turn on all your lights.
  • Shut off the gas.
  • Move your furniture to the middle of each room.
  • Take down your curtains.

Once in your car, stay calm. Roll up your windows and close your air vents. Then turn on your headlights and keep your doors unlocked in case you ever need to be rescued.


Only return to your home when the proper authorities have declared the area safe again. When you arrive home, inspect your property for small fires, ash pits and hot spots, as these areas can still be dangerous. Then document the damage for your insurance company.

At this time, your pet may be understandably anxious. Sights and smells might be unfamiliar to your animal. Comfort them and keep them on a leash because the surrounding area might still be dangerous.