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Urban Wildfire Preparedness

Wildfires don't just happen in the wilderness! They can also be a risk within urban developments, particularly if the developments are near forested areas or heavy vegetation. Brush or grass fires can easily spread to nearby homes, causing an urban wildfire.

Urban wildfires can start small and initially go unnoticed but can spread quickly. Help keep your home and family safe by following a few simple prevention tips.

Preparedness Tips for Your Family

  • Make sure every floor and all sleeping areas have working smoke alarms.
  • Set up emergency numbers in your phone.
  • Create a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit ready to go with at least*
    • 4 litres of water per person, per day for drinking and cleaning
    • Non-refrigerated food and a manual can opener
    • Crank or battery powered flashlight/batteries
    • Crank or battery powered radio
    • Blankets or sleeping bags
    • Toiletries
    • First aid kit

* Specialized items may be needed for infants, seniors, persons with disabilities and pets.

Prevention Tips for Your Home

  • Keep your roof, siding and deck in good repair, free from holes, gaps and cracks.
  • Use non-combustible building materials.
  • Use multi-paned and tempered windows, including those on doors and the garage.
  • Use metal or aluminum gutters and ensure they’re kept clear of needles and leaves.
  • Consider a closed porch, balcony or deck, which provide additional protection.
  • Keep combustible material on an open deck to a minimum.

Prevention Tips for Your Yard

  • Create a buffer zone around your home that is free from combustibles that support burning, such as shrubs, patio furniture and overhanging branches.
  • If possible, extend a minimum of 1.5 metre non-combustible surface around the perimeter of your home.
  • Keep firewood piles, construction materials, and propane tanks as far away from the home as possible.
  • Regularly clean up accumulations of fallen branches, dry grass, tree needles and leaves.
  • Mow your lawn regularly to keep it at a height of 6 inches or less.
  • Plant low density, fire-resistant plants.

If a Wildfire is Approaching your Home

  • Listen to local radio and watch City of Surrey social media channels for up-to-date information, including emergency instructions and road closures.
  • Pack your car with your valuables and park it facing forward out of the driveway with windows closed.
  • Close all home windows and doors, and move combustible materials, such as curtains and furniture, away from windows.
  • Cover vents, windows and other openings with duct tape.
  • Turn off propane or natural gas.

To learn more, or to book a personal or neighbourhood emergency preparedness presentation, email surreyemergencyprogram@surrey.ca.

You can also request a free HomeSafe visit to assess the fire risks inside your home.

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Surrey Emergency Program

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