Wildfire Evacuation Guidelines

What to do if fire approaches

If a wildfire threatens your home, take the following steps:

  • Report it immediately to your Manitoba Conservation office, local fire department or 911 (where available).
  • Activate the alert signal used by your community disaster-warning system.
  • Dress properly to reduce risk of burn injuries (long pants, a wool or cotton shirt, sturdy footwear).
  • Have firefighting tools (rake, shovel, ax, etc.) and a ladder near the house in a visible location.

What to bring

An evacuation may last a long time. Plan to bring enough items to keep your family comfortable for at least five days. Consider adding these items to your emergency supplies:

  • warm, waterproof clothing appropriate for the time of year
  • food, snacks, etc.
  • cash and credit cards (automated teller machines may not be working)
  • toys to comfort and amuse children (for example: a favourite toy, stuffed animal, playing cards)
  • reading material and games
  • pet food
  • sleeping bags or blankets in a waterproof bag
  • medications

When an evacuation alert is given

If there is time, take the following actions:

Prepare your car

  • Place valuable documents and family mementos inside your vehicle and be prepared for quick departure, if necessary.
  • Park your vehicle nearby in a cleared area (don't restrict fire service access) or in the garage, facing out towards the street with windows closed and keys in the ignition.

Outside the house

  • Cover all doors and windows with fire resistant material such as 12 millimeter plywood to help keep out sparks and embers.
  • Attach a garden hose to tap spigot and place it so it can reach exterior surfaces of the building (including the roof). Do not turn on the hose unless the fire is an immediate hazard.
  • Place a nailed down sprinkler on the roof.
  • If you have an outdoor pool or hot tub, make it as accessible as possible for firefighters.
  • Fill garbage cans and buckets with water for firefighters.
  • Block downspouts and fill rain gutters with water.
  • Turn off propane or natural gas valves.
  • Clear vegetation and debris from around outdoor tanks.
  • If you have outdoor pets, put them in crates or carriers, ready for quick evacuation.

Inside the house

  • Close all windows and doors. This will slow the spread of fire inside the home.
  • Move combustibles away from windows and sliding glass doors.
  • Fill sinks, bathtubs and buckets for use as extra water reservoirs. Attach hoses and gather buckets and towels.
  • If you have indoor pets, put them in crates or carriers, ready for quick evacuation.

Protect crops and livestock

  • Owners should have an evacuation plan for livestock threatened by fire. If animals can't be moved to a safe area on your property, make and confirm transportation and feeding arrangements in advance. Obtain insurance coverage for all farm resources at risk from fire, including crops and livestock.
  • The risk to farm animals can be reduced by preparing and maintaining fuel-reduced areas. Livestock can be moved and held there during a fire. Use a plowed or heavily grazed field with a minimum of grass or stubble. If possible, this field should be shaded and located well away from any forested areas. Water should be available.
  • Concrete or metal buildings located away from forest vegetation are another livestock shelter option.
  • As a last resort, if you are unable to move livestock to a safer area, cut fences and turn the animals loose, as long as there is no danger to people or traffic.

When you evacuate

When an evacuation order is given, you must leave your home. Do not take chances. Large, moving fires are very dangerous and should be handled only by professional firefighters.

  • Don't panic. Use your pre-planned route or follow directions from authorities onsite.
  • Move away from the wildfire, never toward it. If in doubt, use the recommended evacuation route.
  • Drive carefully, with headlights on. Watch for pedestrians and emergency vehicles.
  • Report to authorities and wait for further instructions. Don't leave without informing officials.
  • Don't return to your property until permitted to do so by authorities.

Wildfire DOs and DON'Ts

  • If wildfires are burning, do not start any new fires.
  • Report any open fires or smoke to authorities.
  • Check fire pits and burn barrels to ensure they are extinguished.
  • Be certain cigarettes are completely extinguished.
  • If it is safe to stay at home, keep in touch with any absent household members. Listen to the local radio station. Have a battery-powered radio ready in case of power failure.
  • Move grazing animals to a central, safe refuge.
  • Keep pets close to the house.
  • Ensure your vehicle is fueled and operational.