Wildfire Safety and Recovery
Wildfires in northern California fueled by arid conditions and fanned by high winds have killed more than 40 people and laid waste to some 200,000 acres—including Napa Valley wineries—larger than the area of New York City.
The fires at times caused the evacuation of some 100,000 people and destroyed nearly 6,000 homes and other structures. Changes in wind conditions and direction can mean the need for more evacuations at a moment’s notice. Officials say many of the fatalities occurred at night when people were sleeping and conditions changed suddenly.
Thousands of those who have been evacuated don’t know whether they still have homes to return to. Some still can’t account for their loved ones.
Each year, wildfires take lives and burn numerous structures, resulting in mounting costs that have enormous economic and environmental impacts to the nation’s communities and businesses. Wildfires also have devastating impacts on the environment and damage forests, rangelands, watersheds and wildlife.
However, there are steps you can take to protect lives and property at home and in your community. Here are some resources to help you plan:
Protect your home and family from wildfire
- CDC: Protect Yourself from Wildfire Smoke
- ICC: Protect Your Home
- ICC: Surviving a wildfire
- ICC: Building Safety Month 2017, Week 3: Manage the Damage — Preparing for Natural Disasters
Sites for Kids
Protect your community from wildfire
- Preparing a Community Wildfire Protection Plan. This handbook is sponsored by the Communities Committee, National Association of Counties, National Association of State Foresters, Society of American Foresters and the Western Governors’ Association.
- A Community Wildfire Protection Plan. This fill-in-the blank form will help you to identify the resources and strategies to protect your community. Tab through the document and fill in the necessary information.
- ICC 2008 National Blue Ribbon Panel on Wildland Urban Interface Fire
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and its partners – the International Code Council and approximately 20 other founding-member international organizations -- created the Fire Management Actions Alliance (FMAA) to stimulate improved fire management and reduce damage from fire worldwide. The FMAA Charter provided for the development of a strategy to improve international cooperation in fire management, which included Fire Management Voluntary Guidelines. These guidelines provide an international framework, outline cross-sectoral issues, detail the principles and attributes needed to balance the social, cultural, environmental and economic dimensions of fire management, and prescribe key actions for the planning and management of fires.
Additional Wildfire Resources
- National Incident Information Center A morning report of daily wildfire activities around the country, statistics and past year analysis at this site hosted by the USDA Forest Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and the National Association of State Foresters.
- National Interagency Fire Center The nation’s national logistical center provides current specific wildfire information, statistics, prevention and education materials.
- InciWeb -- The Wildland Fire and Incident Information System links directly to major wildfire incidents around the United States, showing the latest information as it comes in.
- ICC Building Safety Journal Articles
- October 2014 Building Safety Journal Online: Changing Construction Practices in Wildfire-Prone Areas to Reduce Building Ignition
- August 2013 Building Safety Journal Online: Wildfire Safe, Sound and Code Smart
- ICC's March -April 2004 Building Safety Journal: Wildfire Mitigation
- August 2006 Building Safety Journal: Wildland Interface Fire Safety
In the US
- American Red Cross
- Bureau of Indian Affairs
- Bureau of Land Management
- National Association of State Foresters (NASF)
- National Park Service
- National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center
- National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC)
- National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG)
- Program for Climate, Ecosystem and Fire Applications (CEFA)
- USDA Forest Service
- USFS Forest Fire Laboratory
- U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)
- U.S. Fire Administration (USFA)
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- Western Regional Climate Center
- Australasian Fire Authorities Council
- Canadian Forest Service Fire Research Network
- Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre
- Eurasian Fire in Nature Conservation Network
- Global Fire Monitoring Center
- Fire Protection Association Australia
- New South Wales Rural Fire Service
- New Zealand National Rural Fire Authority
- International Association of Wildland Fire
USA Today: Natural disasters caused record $306 billion in damage to U.S. in 2017
SoCal wildfires highlight need for home fire safety
Mercury News: LA fires: Why 2017’s record wildfire season keeps getting worse
CNN: Wildfires Spread in California: Live Updates
Southern California fire is 'out of control,' forcing thousands to evacuate
Wildfires In Southern California Force Thousands Of People To Flee
PBS Newshour: This cartoonist drew what it was like to lose almost everything in the California wildfires
Modeler: Insured Losses for California Wildfires Could Reach $10.5B
Insurers Had Crews Working in Heart of California Wildfires to Prevent Loss
How to Help the Victims of California’s Devastating Wildfires
U.S., States Struggle to Pay Spiraling Cost of Fighting Fires
This Season, Western Wildfires Are Close By and Running Free
Cost of fighting U.S. wildfires topped $2 billion in 2017
Surveying the Wildfires Burning Across the Western U.S.
Questions? Contact us.