Emergency Preparedness and Response: Wildfires

During the Fire

Health Impacts

Wildfire smoke has negative health effects for everyone but particularly for children, pregnant women, and those with chronic conditions. If wildfire smoke is drifting into your air, review these resources to understand how to protect your health, especially if you or your loved ones are among one of these vulnerable groups.  |  El humo de los incendios forestales tiene efectos negativos para la salud de todos, pero especialmente de los niños, las mujeres embarazadas y las personas con enfermedades crónicas. Si el humo de los incendios forestales está flotando en su aire, revise estos recursos para comprender cómo proteger su salud, especialmente si usted o sus seres queridos se encuentran entre uno de estos grupos vulnerables.

Wildfire Smoke Factsheet: Reduce Your Smoke Exposure
This Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fact sheet provides guidance to residents on how to reduce smoke exposure indoors and outdoors. [pdf, EPA]

Wildfire Smoke and Your Patients’ Health
The EPA developed this course for physicians, registered nurses, asthma educators, and others involved in clinical or health education about health impacts associated with wildfire smoke. [url; EPA]

How Smoke from Fires Can Affect Your Health
AirNow’s web page provides residents with steps to protect your health during a wildfire smoke event. [url; AirNow]

Wildfire Smoke and Pregnancy
Created by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this website offers brief guidance for pregnant women before, during, and after a wildfire smoke event. [url; CDC, 2019]

Wildfire Smoke and Children
Created by the CDC, this website offers brief guidance for protecting children before, during, and after a wildfire smoke event. [url; CDC, 2019]

Chronic Conditions and Wildfire Smoke
Created by the CDC, this website offers people with any chronic condition with steps to protect themselves from wildfire smoke. [url; CDC, 2019]

Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials
Resulting as a product from interagency collaboration between the CDC, EPA, and many others, this guide provides guidance for local public health officials to prepare for smoke events, to take measures to protect the public during smoke events, and effectively communicate with the public about wildfire smoke and health. [pdf; EPA, 2019]

[Esp] El humo de los incendios forestales y el embarazo
Esta versión en español del sitio web de los Centros para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades (CDC) de EE. UU. Ofrece una guía breve para mujeres embarazadas antes, durante y después de un evento de humo de incendios forestales. [enlace; CDC]  | This Spanish-language version of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website offering brief guidance for pregnant women before, during, and after a wildfire smoke event. [url; CDC]

[Esp] Las afecciones crónicas y el humo de los incendios forestales
Esta versión en español del sitio web creado por los CDC ofrece a las personas con cualquier condición crónica pasos para protegerse del humo de los incendios forestales. [enlace; CDC, 2019]  |  This Spanish-language version of the website created by the CDC offering people with any chronic condition with steps to protect themselves from wildfire smoke. [url; CDC, 2019]

Real-Time and Forecasting

These sites provide real-time monitoring of ongoing and potential fire conditions, as well as air quality. Using these resources in addition to information from your local agencies can help you to assess the conditions in your area and plan an informed course of action.  |  Estos sitios brindan monitoreo en tiempo real de las condiciones de incendios potenciales y en curso, así como de la calidad del aire. El uso de estos recursos además de la información de sus agencias locales puede ayudarlo a evaluar las condiciones en su área y planificar un curso de acción informado.

AirNow’s website allows users to monitor the current, real-time air quality index of their geographic area ranging from good to hazardous. [url; AirNow]

Fires: Current Conditions
AirNow provides an interactive map of AirNow monitors, temporary monitors, and hazard mapping system fire locations nationally. [url; AirNow]

Fire Forecasting
This U.S. Forest Service landing page provides wildland fire management agencies with climate and fire behavior so they can make informed, critical decisions. [url; USFS]

[Esp] AirNow
This section of the AirNow website is dedicated to publications translated into Spanish. [enlace; AirNow]

Smoke Mitigation in Homes

If your area is experiencing wildfire smoke, and especially if you’ve been instructed to remain indoors to reduce your exposure, limiting your exposure while indoors is critically important. Review these resources to understand how to filter your indoor air and keep yourself safe inside.

Protecting Your Indoor Air Quality During Wildfires 
NCHH developed this guide to help residents protect their health and indoor air quality during wildfires and significant wildfire smoke events. This resource discusses using air conditioners during wildfire smoke events, how to assess your central cooling system’s filter, what you should know about air cleaners, and tips for using a box fan as a low-cost option for filtration. [pdf, NCHH, 2022]

Wildfire Smoke Factsheet: Indoor Air Filtration
This EPA fact sheet gives residents guidance on filtration options and choosing a portable air cleaner to improve air quality in the home during a wildfire smoke event. [pdf; EPA]

Improving Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality during Wildfire Smoke Events
The Washington State Department of Health offers guidance for schools and buildings with mechanical ventilation to maximize indoor air quality. [pdf, WSDH, 2015]

Wildfires and Indoor Air Quality
EPA’s website provides helpful information for residents to reduce exposure to wildfire smoke and ash inside the home. [url; EPA, 2020]

Smoke – Ready Toolbox for Wildfires
EPA and other partner agencies have assembled a toolbox for the general public and health professionals with educational resources. [url; EPA, 2019]

Create a Clean Room to Protect Indoor Air Quality During a Wildfire
This EPA website provides the particulars of setting up a clean room to reduce wildfire exposure indoors. [url; EPA, 2020]

Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home
EPA’s consumer guide to air cleaners gives general information, tips for selecting an air cleaner, and a Q&A section to help residents to best chose an air cleaner for their home. [pdf; EPA, 2018]

Residential Air Cleaners: A Technical Summary
This EPA document is geared towards residential housing design professionals, public health officials, and indoor air quality professionals and provides general information and a reference guide on residential air cleaners. [pdf; EPA, 2018]

New Guidance for Residential Air Cleaners
This EPA publication provides recommendations and information on residential air filtration and air cleaners for both consumers and technical professionals. [pdf; EPA, 2019]

Wildfire Smoke: Considerations for California’s Public Health Officials
This publication, prepared by the California Department of Public Health for its public health officials, offers information on the health effects of wildfire smoke, actions that can be taken to reduce exposure, and other public health considerations. [pdf; CDPH, 2019]

[Esp] Cree una habitación limpia para proteger la calidad del aire interior durante un incendio forestal
Este sitio web de la EPA, traducido al español, proporciona los detalles de la instalación de una sala limpia para reducir la exposición a incendios forestales en el interior. [enlace; EPA, 2020]  |  This EPA website, translated into Spanish, provides the particulars of setting up a clean room to reduce wildfire exposure indoors. [url; EPA, 2020]

Preparedness and Evacuation

If you’ve been ordered to evacuate, or are anticipating such an order, you can use these resources to prepare as thoroughly as possible and ensure that you have a safe experience.  |  Si se le ordenó evacuar, o está anticipando tal orden, puede usar estos recursos para prepararse lo más a fondo posible y asegurarse de tener una experiencia segura.

How to Prepare for a Wildfire
This guide covers how to prepare for evacuation as well as preparing your home for a wildfire. [pdf; FEMA]

Ready: Wildfires
The Department of Homeland Security lists steps to remain safe before, during, and after a wildfire and includes links to survivor stories, a social media toolkit, a guide for preparing your organization for a wildfire, and other resources. [url; DHS, 2020]

Wildfire Evacuation
FEMA’s fact sheet includes some basic tips for staying safe during an evacuation. [pdf; FEMA]

Fire Evacuation Checklist
This document covers all of the steps you should take to be ready for an evacuation. [pdf; USFS]


Latest page update: September 9, 2022.