Wildfires 2023: What you need to have for wildfire season


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Dec 10, 2023

Wildfires 2023: What you need to have for wildfire season

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While wildfire season only just began, the U.S. is already feeling it greatly due to wildfires across our northern neighbor, Canada, bringing about smoke and smog to several states on the East Coast.

Wildfires are becoming increasingly common due to climate change. Rising temperatures, prolonged droughts and changing rain patterns all contribute to the worsening wildfire season. These fires have the potential to devastate land, harming people and property alike. With a potentially long wildfire season ahead, now is the time to prepare for anything that may come your way. With proper preparation, you can increase your chances of protecting yourself, your family and your home. Here are the essentials you’ll want for wildfire season.

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One of the many dangers associated with wildfires is the decrease in air quality they bring with their smoke and smog. If you need to brave the outdoors during or after a wildfire, it's a good idea to wear an N95 mask, which is the best at blocking ash particles.

If you or a loved one find themselves with a minor injury in the midst of a wildfire, a first-aid kit can be a real help, especially if you can't get to a hospital for more extensive care. Our research determined that the best first-aid kit is Protect Life's 100-Piece First Aid Kit. It comes with all the essentials while still being big enough to add additional supplies.

Need to make a speedy escape from your home? Keep your furbaby in mind. Unless they're the walking type and/or play nice in a car, you'll need to transport them in a pet carrier. The best pet carrier we’ve tested, the Sleepypod Air, is well worth its price point. It's flexible, has excellent air circulation and is great for car or air travel.

During wildfire season, an area can go from being safe to dangerous in a matter of minutes, so it's important to have a radio that will work when the power's out, ensuring you can get critical updates. One of the best emergency radios you can buy on Amazon is sold by Eoxsmile. This Swiss army knife of radios comes with a built-in flashlight, USB charger and an SOS alarm.

If you prefer getting updates with your phone, a portable charger will serve you well if the power goes out during a wildfire and you need to juice up your devices. The best portable charger we've tested is the Mophie Powerstation PD, which is powerful enough to quickly charge two phones at once.

You'll want to stock up on canned and other non-perishable food as you prep for a wildfire. Having easily prepared food can help you and your family weather the flames whether you're stuck in your home for an extended period of time or you have to flee your home. Just make sure you have a quality can opener on hand. The best we've tested is the Cuisinart CCO-50BKN Deluxe Can Opener. It has an automatic stop lever and a strong base. Plus, its strong magnets ensure that your cans won't drop as they're being opened.

You'll want to have bags at the ready that can turn into a go-bag if you have to evacuate. Our favorite travel backpack will make for a good go-bag for you and other members of your household. The Pacsafe Venturesafe EXP45 is large, comfortable, slash-resistant and secure with hidden zippers.

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During wildfire season, you'll want to ensure your house is as non-flammable as possible. With all the leaves and twigs that can fall inside, gutters provide an easy way for flames to spread around your roof. To cut back on the debris in your gutter, you can buy a gutter guard such as the best we've tested, the FlexxPoint 30 Year Gutter Cover System. This gutter guard is strong, durable and requires simple installation.

Where there's smoke, there's fire, so a smoke detector will be the best way to know when a wildfire is about to knock on your door. We've tested several smoke detectors and found the Nest Protect to be the best. You can choose either a battery-operated or hardwire model, both of which are quick to set up and are compatible with iOS and Android devices.

Another option to explore for protecting your home is the use of fire-blocking gel on the exterior of your home. It's important to note that this gel should be used to supplement other fire-stopping methods, such as clearing debris, not replace them. Remember to be vigilant and resist the allure of a false sense of security. To use the gel, mix it with water and apply it to a surface.

Clearing your yard is another way to mitigate the risk of your house catching fire, as it'll give the flames less avenue to spread. A rake is the most important tool in clearing a yard. Our top pick for rakes is Truper's Tru Tough 24-inch Leaf Rake thanks to its perfect weight distribution, comfortable build and long warranty.

Naturally, wildfires drive the temperature up. If you're caught in the middle of one, you'll want ways to keep cool. That's where air conditioners come in. The best of the best is Whynter Elite ARC-122DS, which we love thanks to its great value and cooling. Just make sure to set any units around your home to "re-circulate" to prevent bringing in unhealthy air from the outdoors.

A quality air purifier can improve the air inside your home if smoke and smog infiltrate. It’ll be useful both during said wildfire event and after it's over and you’re looking to remove the unhealthy air. We've tested several air purifiers and found the best to be the Blueair DustMagnet 5410i. This air purifier is our favorite because it's top of the class when it comes to particle removal, it's quiet and it's compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

If the fire reaches your house, you’ll want to make sure you’re long gone. But before you go, time-permitting, you can protect important belongings by putting them in a fireproof safe. One of the top-rated safes on Amazon is sold by SentrySafe. It has over 6,700 five-star reviews, with buyers praising the safe's size and ease of use.

After the fire has passed, you’ll likely be spending the next few days cleaning your house of the soot that it's been coated with. Many items that can be used to remove soot can already be found in your kitchen, such as a sponge and a mop. You'll want a quality sponge to wipe surfaces of soot and ash. Our favorite is the Scotch-Brite Dobie All Purpose Pad. Its textured surface cuts through tough stains and it's thin enough to reach narrow corners. For the floors, our favorite mop is the Rubbermaid Reveal Microfiber Spray Mop for its washable pads, lightweight build and scrubber that works well on tough stains.

A sponge is perfect for soot and ash indoors, but you’ll want to break out the big guns for the exterior of your home. We recommend using a pressure washer like the Kärcher K4 Power Control to spray down your home's siding. If you don't have or want a pressure washer, you can easily install a pressure nozzle onto the garden hose you already have.

While some plants and trees may be past saving, you can clean off the surviving ones and the rest of your yard by showering them with a standard garden hose. If you’re in the market for a new one, we love the Flexzilla Garden Hose for its lightweight and flexible build. Plus, it's made from lead-free material which is a huge bonus.

If an air purifier isn't cutting it to remove that smoky smell from your home, a fan can work wonders in just pushing the air out of your home if propped up to a window. After testing several, we came to love the Vornado 660 for its great air speed and ability to maintain a breeze over a distance.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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