Canadians in Alberta, British Columbia and Quebec know all too well that wildfires can be a concern whether you’re close to, or at great distances from the fire zone. Millions of hectares of forest land have burned, but far from being a ‘wilderness’ problem, they’re impacting populated areas—even ones hundreds of kilometers from the source.
The truth about wildfires is that they can happen literally anywhere; forest fires can spring up in national parks or remote towns, while grass fires can sweep across prairie land, fields and even large acreages. Meaning we should all be prepared.
In recent years, the United States also has seen record breaking wildfire activity, with an average of 22,946 wildfires per year between 2013 and 2022. In 2021 alone, the state of California had 9,260 fires which is pretty shocking. But of even more concern is that in the US, nearly 45 million homes are either next to or inside woodlands, putting over 72,000 U.S. communities at risk.
Advance prep for wildfires is step one to make sure you, your loved ones, and your property are safe. Bluetti has pulled together this comprehensive guide to help you through the steps to take before, during, and after a wildfire to reduce risk and ensure safety. Bluetti is a valued sponsor-partner of our blog and we thank them for sponsoring this post.
How to prepare BEFORE a wildfire
To prepare for wildfires, it is important to know the risks in your area. Keep current on info like local weather conditions and overall heat and fire danger levels.
Local news media, emergency management agencies, and official social media will always provide the most trustworthy and accurate info so follow them and keep an eye on the news regularly—particularly when the weather gets hot for long stretches.
Sign up for emergency alerts and notifications from your local government or fire department too.
Finally, it’s never a bad idea to familiarize yourself with nearby evacuation routes and community gathering points—and to ensure you and your family have a meeting point both in your neighborhood and nearby, in case an evacuation was ever necessary.
Prepare an Emergency Kit
When a natural disaster like a wild fire hits, there is little to no time to prepare. That’s why you need an emergency kit. Your kit should have essentials like canned or packaged food, drinking water, medications, first aid supplies, a flashlight, batteries, battery-powered radio, and important documents (like copies of passports, birth certificates and driver’s licenses). You should include personal protection items like N95 masks and goggles. Keep your emergency kit in a fireproof container and put it in an easily accessible place where you can grab it while running out the door if necessary.
As part of your larger emergency prep kit, consider investing in a portable power station like BLUETTI’s EB series (EB3A, EB55, EB70S) particulalry if you have a lot of gadgets that need to be charged. These lightweight power stations offer lots of power and multiple outlets, and that’s important because having a fully charged smartphone during an evacuation could be the difference in being able to make emergency calls to local officials or to locate family or friends.
For long-term evacuations where you may not be able to return home immediately (such as staying at an evacuation centre or camping out of the area), BLUETTI’s AC200 series (AC200P, AC200MAX) and portable solar panels, such as PV120 and PV200, can meet your basic power needs for off-grid living in RV’s, shelters or other small spaces.
Develop an Emergency Plan
Wildfires can spread more quickly than you can believe and grow exponentially without warning. Creating a detailed evacuation plan for your family can save lives in fast-paced and frantic situations. Practice multiple evacuation routes with your family and designate a meeting place outside the danger area where you can unite if separated. Don’t forget to make evacuation plans that include your pets or livestock too.
Protect Your Home
Even if your home is far from any wildfire, what many people don’t realize is how far flying embers can travel: They’ve been known to catch the wind and migrate up to a mile away, maintaining enough heat to ignite a home or property.
Take measures to safeguard an area around you by cutting down highly combustible materials, like dead trees, removing brush piles and moving dry plant debris. At the same time, make sure your house number is clearly visible from the street for emergency personnel.
If you can afford it, consider retrofitting parts of your home with ember and flame-resistant materials and coatings.
During a fire season, it’s also a good idea to set up an outside source of water for firefighting purposes, such as a swimming pool, pond, or water tank.
Prepare a Home Backup Power Source
While you live far from wildfire-prone areas, you are still vulnerable to more preventative power shutoffs and subsequent power outages if anything happens to disrupt the utility grid. Extended blackouts can last for days or even weeks, and that’s why a reliable home backup power source is esential.
BLUETTI’s AC300+B300, AC500+B300S, provide flexible backup power for homes of all sizes. With high outputs and capacities, these modular power stations can charge almost any home appliance. For example, the AC300 can deliver up to 3,000W power and expand its capacity to a max 12,288Wh with B300 batteries. An AC300+B300 combo can run an 800W refrigerator for about 3 hours, a 40W CPAP machine for over 65 hours. Using BLUETTI’s PV350 and PV420 solar panels, you can charge these powerhouses to get you through the outages in a more comfortable way.
What to Do During a Wildfire
It’s a no-brainer: If a wildfire breaks out near your home, immediately follow evacuation orders and leave the area as directed by fire crews and police.
Take your prepackaged supplies, emergency kit and your BLUETTI backup power source with you and you should be able to stand on your own for several days.
It goes without saying: Do not attempt to return until it is officially declared safe.
What to Do After a Wildfire
Once there’s official clearance to return, check your property for any remaining hot spots or hazards, like potentially unstable structures or downed power lines, which could pose a risk.
Now’s the time to reach out to your insurance company to report the situation and initiate the claims process. Document any damage with photos or video to support your claim.
To get power back in the home even if the utilities aren’t back up and running yet, rely your BLUETTI power solutions. The AC200 series and EB series power stations can provide emergency backup power for essential equipment and devices, ensuring you have the power you need during the recovery process.
Wildfires can be devastating, but by taking simple preventative measures now, you can make sure you’re well equipped to deal with the unexpected.
Learn more by clicking on any of the links in this article or at BLUETTI’s website.