Be Wildfire Ready!

Colleen Hathaway/Red Cross Cascades Region

Red Cross Cascades sets up a shelter near the Cutoff Fire in Klamath County, June 2021.

There are currently 16 active wildfires in Oregon, burning more than 5,000 acres, according to the Department of Emergency Management (OEM)’s Wildfire Response and Recovery web page (  Wildfires can move up to 14 miles per hour!  
With wildfires raging every year, it’s good practice to be prepared to take care of ourselves and our neighbors, including seniors and people with disabilities.  OEM has a before and after Wildfire Evacuation Checklist which is a great tool to use in conjunction with the three-level evacuation notification system:

Green, yellow and red for ready, set, go

Level 1:  Be Ready

Be aware and stay informed.  

Sign up for life-saving alerts and instructions such as one or more of these:

Make a Plan.  

A plan helps you to act fast and stay safe.  Start with this Red Cross wildfire preparedness checklist or preparedness resource guide. OEM has a handy emergency pocket plan.  Practice your plan with your household members and neighbors.  Considerations include but are not limited to:  

  • Know your evacuation plan and route.   Use or call 511 for road closure information.  
  • Embed a family communication plan in case of separation
  • Have a back-up battery or charger for your cell phone
  • Have a full tank of gas
  • Talk with your family and neighbors about help needed for seniors or people with disabilities 
  • Include pets in your plan
  • Plan for shelter.  Call the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767 (1-800-Red Cross) or visit  Call 211 or visit for local resources
  • Have an after-evacuation plan, such as continuing to check for updates or seeking medical attention
  • Make a go-kit (see below)

Make a Go-Kit.  

Pack go-kits for the home and the car that are ready to grab at a moment’s notice.  Basic items include enough non-perishable food and water for three days per person, plus prescriptions, supplies and identification.  The Red Cross Cascades Region “Prepare!” guide has helpful instructions for building an essential kit.

OEM suggests six “Ps” for evacuation:  1) people and pets; 2) prescriptions; 3) phones, personal computers; 4) plastic; 5) papers; and 6) pictures.

Level 2:  Be Set

Be set to evacuate.  

There is significant danger.  Continue to use public safety apps and news from public officials to stay informed.  Conditions can change rapidly and you may not receive official notification to leave.  Leave if you feel that you are in danger.  

Level 3:  Go!

Leave immediately.  

There is extreme danger.  There may not be anyone to help you if you stay.


Wildfires are commonplace in Oregon and it’s up to individuals to be prepared, stay safe and recover quickly.  The Red Cross recommends that you stay informed, make a plan that includes a go-kit and practice your plan.