How To Get Ready for Wildfire in Yolo County

CAL FIRE declared May 1st through May 7th Wildfire Preparedness Week to encourage residents to prepare their defensible space and home hardening in advance of wildfire. Last winter’s historic rainfall resulted in enormous growth in vegetation that, when dry, will serve as hazardous fuels and potentially fuel fast-moving grass fires.

The importance and urgency of preparing for wildfire didn’t stop on May 7th! The entire month of May is Wildfire Preparedness Month and residents are urged to prepare and be on alert for wildfire.

It’s time to start preparing your defensible space around your home! Defensible space is the first 100 feet out from your home and is the first line of defense against wildfire. Defensible space is defined by zones throughout the 100-foot perimeter of the home. Here are some defensible space basics:

Zone 0 (0-5 feet): Ember Resistant Zone

CAL FIRE recommends you remove all combustible materials from this area including: firewood, combustible mulch or bark, patio furniture, branches, combustible fencing and gates, and garbage and recycling containers. Zone 0 is the most important zone to keep your home fire resilient during wildfire.

Zone 1 (5-30 feet): Clean, Lean and Green Zone

Dead, dry, and weedy vegetation should be removed from this zone. Trees should be trimmed back to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees and from the roof of a home or structure.

Zone 2 (30-100 feet): Reduce Fuel Zone

In this zone, annual grasses should be mowed to a height of four inches and trees and shrubs should have horizontal and vertical spacing. Wood piles should be relocated to Zone 2 and a 10-foot clearance around exposed wood piles, down to bare mineral soil, should be maintained. 

An important step in wildfire preparedness is signing up for emergency alerts that keep you informed on wildfires (and other emergencies) in your area. There are a number of ways to stay informed this fire season!

Yolo Alert is a state of the art emergency notification system that provides timely information to residents straight to their phones (cell phones, home phones, work phone, text, or email)

Yolo County Office of Emergency Services maintains a page on the county website that lists Current Emergencies and Incidents and other resources related to natural hazards.

CAL FIRE’s Ready for Wildfire Incidents page allows you to search for active CAL FIRE incidents by zip code. The site easily links to CAL FIRE’s statewide fire map.

Watch Duty provides real time push notifications about wildfires and prescribed burns throughout California through a browser or an app (compatible with Apple and Google devices). This citizen driven approach is not affiliated with an official government entity or authority.

ALERTCalifornia has more than 1,000 high-definition, plan-tilt-zoom cameras across California that can view up to 60 miles on a clear day and 120 miles on a clear night. This fire spotting technology helps monitor wildfires and disasters in real-time.

A “Go Kit” is an emergency supply kit that is prepared long before a wildfire strikes. An emergency go kit can be created using an old backpack and should be prepared for every member of your household (including pets). Keep go kits light and easy to carry! In your go-kit, some basics to include are:

  • prescriptions or special medications
  • change of clothes
  • extra glasses or contact lenses
  • first aid kit
  • copies of important documents (birth certificates, passports, etc)
  • flashlight
  • three day supply of food and water

If the time comes during a wildfire that you receive notice from officials to evacuate, it is recommended to leave as soon as possible to avoid being caught in fire, smoke, or road congestion. Officials will determine the areas to be evacuated and the proper evacuation routes to use that are dependent on fire and weather conditions. Although it is important to follow the directions of law enforcement officials during a wildfire, it is important to be aware of potential evacuation routes before a wildfire event happens. The Yolo County Office of Emergency Services prepared a Know Your Zone Map to display pre-planned evacuation zones throughout Yolo County.