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Wildfire Survival Kit

This guide will help you build a wildfire survival kit with the essential gear you’ll need for: home, car, wildfire evacuation ‘go’ bag, and for the wilderness.

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If you have been reading up on how to survive a wildfire, you’ve probably come to the realization that you need to acquire some things. You need to put together some type of wildfire survival kit.

Preparing for wildfire emergencies starts with making the decision to educate yourself. It then leads to a process of adapting your home and modifying your surroundings.

Eventually, you will need to make sure you have the appropriate gear and supplies to see you through a wildfire and its aftermath.

What gear should you prepare in advance to help you survive a wildfire?

The most important items and gear that you will want to include in your wildfire survival kit can be divided into three categories:  what you need for the home, what you need for your car, and what you need in your emergency “go” bag (or bug out bag as some in the survivalist community might call it).

Just like we discuss in our guide on how to survive wildfire, there are a few different scenarios typical to wildfire emergencies:

  1. You need to evacuate, leaving your home and the majority of your possessions behind.
  2. You are not able to evacuate and must face down the fire in your home.
  3. You are overtaken by wildfire while evacuating in your vehicle or on foot.
  4. You encounter a wildfire in the wilderness while camping or hiking.

In this guide, we’ll help you build a complete wildfire survival kit with all the most essential gear you’ll need for your home, your car, your wildfire evacuation ‘go’ bag, and for those trips to the backcountry.

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

What to Pack in a Wildfire Evacuation Bag

Because the easiest way to survive a wildfire is to evacuate, let’s talk about your wildfire evacuation go bag first.

If you are familiar with prepping terms, we often call evacuation bags “Bug Out Bags".

The concept is simple: have an easy-to-carry bag packed and ready to grab and go in an emergency situation. 

You should prepare an emergency backpack for each member of your family, according to their needs and physical capabilities to carry it.

Here’s a wildfire checklist of the best gear and essential supplies for you to include in each wildfire evacuation bag:

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

OK, so now that you’ve got an idea of what you are going to pack in your wildfire evacuation ‘go’ bag, let’s talk about what to have on hand in your home.

Wildfire Preparedness Kit for the Home

Preparing your home for a wildfire includes having certain gear and supplies on hand for yourself, your family members, and the physical structure of your home. 

Here’s a wildfire preparedness checklist to guide you.

For the people in your home:

  • Fire Appropriate Clothing: At a minimum, this should include heavy-duty boots, long pants, and a long sleeve shirt. You may want to consider purchasing a 100% cotton coverall for each member of your family. This will dramatically simplify dressing into your fire clothes. Bonus points if the clothing or coverall is of bright colors or has reflective safety strips.
  • A 100% cotton wide-brimmed hat. This will keep falling embers off your head.

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

When the alarm sounds that there is a wildfire nearby, if you have time, be sure to change into your “fire clothes”. 

We suggest that you keep this special outfit with your evacuation bag. If you don't have time to change before evacuating, bring the clothes with you – you’ll need them for when you come back to your home.

If there is no chance to evacuate, change into them immediately.  Your fire clothes will help protect you from falling embers and radiant heat caused by the fire. 

If you want the ultimate in protective clothing, consider stocking your emergency wildfire survival kit with a full-body protective fire suit.

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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Other Supplies You Need for your Wildfire Safety Kit

Next on the wildfire preparedness checklist are the supplies you need for your home

These are the items that you need to have on hand to protect your home if a wildfire sweeps through your neighborhood. 

  • Roof Top Sprinklers: These may be used to keep water flowing over your roof and the areas around your home.
  • Extension Ladder: Essential for helping you or firefighters reach your home’s roof.  Keep it propped alongside your home in the event you have to evacuate.
  • Thick Wool Blanket or Fire Shelter: If you need to stay in your home while a fire rages through, hide yourself and your loved ones under a blanket to create a pocket of breathable air and to protect yourselves from falling embers, thick smoke, and radiant heat.
  • Hand Cranked Weather Radio: Stay informed of fire and weather conditions even if the electricity goes out and cell service collapses.

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Fire Escape Kit for the Car

Your vehicle is another place that you will want to store some essential wildfire emergency gear.

Imagine a fire ripping through your neighborhood while you are at work and unable to get to your supplies stored at home. 

You may also get trapped by wildfire while in your car trying to evacuate.

You should always be prepared for the worst case scenario. That means having a wildfire survival kit in your vehicle.

Make sure to include (as a minimum):

  • Heavy-duty leather gloves
  • A thick wool blanket or fire shelter
  • A set of "fire clothes", coverall, or firesuit
  • Hand crank weather radio
  • Emergency food/water supply
  • Headlamp
  • Facemask and Safety Glasses
  • First Aid Kit with burn injury supplies

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Wildfire Emergency Kit for the Backcountry

Chances are, if you are out for a jaunt in the backcountry, you've packed your bag carefully and have just the things you need for a great time out in the woods. 

If you are heading to the great outdoors during the fire season, however, it is worth packing a few extra ounces in your pack to stay on the safe side. 

One never knows when you may come across wildfire, and it pays to be prepared.

Here are a few additional pieces of gear that you can pack that will help you survive an unfortunate encounter with wildfire:

Last update on 2021-06-28 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

It’s worth noting that no piece of gear will save your life in a backcountry fire. Except a fire shelter, which is heavy and most likely won’t make it into your pack.

You can, however, learn the best strategies for surviving a wildfire and use your wildfire survival kit for backpacking to help you get to safety after the fire passes.

The Most Important Item in Your Wildfire Survival Kit

What is the most important piece of gear that you need to have ready to confront a wildfire?

Your mind.

The best gear will not protect you if you do not keep your wits about you. Keeping calm and focused on survival is paramount to surviving a wildfire. 

To help you stay calm during a wildfire, take the time to stage fire drills in your home before a fire is threatening it. Practice changing into your fire clothing.

Connect and open up the sprinklers on your roof. Open up the fire shelter and see how fast you can get under it.  Know how to use your PLB and signaling mirror. 

Be prepared. Be confident.

Wildfire Kits Frequently Asked Questions

Do I really need to purchase multiples of all these items?

It can definitely get a little expensive when you start purchasing the items for your wildfire emergency survival kits. But yes, you really should purchase multiples of key essential items.

You will need to have leather gloves for everyone in your family. You should also have a spare set in your car. You need to have enough wool blankets or fire shelters to cover everyone around, in both your home and car. 

You could probably get away with only one emergency weather radio, but having multiples allows you to not worry about remembering to grab it.

When a fire is approaching, the last thing you want is to have your mind scrambling to remember what you need to take before heading out the door.

Having multiple items purchased and organized correctly allows you the peace of mind needed to focus exclusively on staying calm and protecting your family.

What is a Personal Locator Beacon?

PLBs are becoming more and more appreciated by backcountry explorers and adventurers of all types. They are registered devices that you activate only in an emergency situation.

It will send a signal via satellite to a search and rescue center, which will then direct local rescuers to your exact location.

These are fantastic for situations where cell phone coverage is unreliable. 

Is a fire shelter worth the investment?

Fire shelters are considered to be a last-ditch tool in an attempt to save yourself.  In the US, all wildfire firefighters are required to carry one since 1977. 

Wikipedia states that up to 2013, there were over 1200 reported deployments and only 41 deaths

So, yeah, it’s safe to say that if you are literally at death’s flaming doorstep, a fire shelter will likely prevent you from going through that door.

Be careful though. Don't become overconfident with a fire shelter in your survival kit. Remember: this is a piece of survival gear that you never want to use.

Wildfire Survival Kit Conclusions

By now you should have a clear understanding of how to survive a wildfire and want gear to buy to improve your odds of survival.

Hopefully our wildfire gear guide gave you some good ideas on what to include in your evacuation bag and you're one step closer to being prepared for any disaster!

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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