Forest fires can be very dangerous to people and properties. Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and local fire departments respond to hundreds of forest fires every year.
It is important to prepare in advance and know what actions to take in the event of a forest fire.
- Move away from outside walls.
- Close doors, but leave them unlocked.
- Close windows, vents and blinds.
- Remove lightweight curtains.
- Open the fireplace damper and close fireplace screens.
- Turn a light on in each room to make the home more visible in heavy smoke.
- Turn off air conditioners.
- Have a flashlight, extra batteries and a battery-powered or crank radio close by in case the power goes out.
- Keep all family members and pets together.
When evacuating the home
- If instructed to evacuate, do so immediately.
- Choose a route away from fire hazards – listen to the radio or TV.
- Watch for changes in speed and direction of fire and smoke.
- Wear clothing and footwear that protect against flying sparks and ashes.
- Do not leave pets behind.
- If there is time before leaving, pack enough supplies for a week (clothes, cash, medications, etc.).
- Remove flammable materials from the home.
- Turn on sprinklers to wet the lawn.
- Turn off the gas line to the home.
- Inform someone of evacuation plans.
When outdoors during a wildfire
- Do not try to outrun the fire — find a pond or river to crouch in.
- If there is no water nearby, go to a lower level clearing.
- If near a road, lie face down along the road or in the ditch – use soil to shield from the fire's heat.
- Protect lungs by breathing air closest to the ground through a moist cloth to avoid inhaling smoke.