Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Forest Fires


Every year, Ontario’s fire rangers and local fire departments respond to hundreds of forest fires. While forest fires can be dangerous to people and property, being prepared in advance and knowing what actions to take can better protect you.

When you are building your family emergency plan review and discuss these safety tips with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do.

Make your Emergency Preparedness Action Plan

General Tips

If you are indoors:

  • If you are trapped inside your home by a wildfire home, stay inside (unless advised by officials to evacuate) and move away from outside walls. Close doors, but leave them unlocked.
  • Close windows, vents, and blinds. Remove lightweight curtains.
  • Open the fireplace damper. Close fireplace screens.
  • Turn a light on in each room to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.

If you are advised to evacuate:

  • Wear protective clothing and footwear to protect against flying sparks and ashes.
  • Tell someone when you leave and where you are going.
  • Choose a route away from fire hazards (listen to the radio or television for information)
  • Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.

If you are outdoors:

  • Do not try to outrun the blaze. Instead, look for a body of water such as a pond or river to crouch in.
  • If there is no water nearby, find a depressed, cleared area with little vegetation.
  • If a road is nearby, lie face down along the road cut or in the ditch on the uphill side. Cover yourself with anything that will shield you from the fire's heat (e.g. loose earth).
  • Protect your lungs by breathing air closest to the ground, through a moist cloth, if possible, to avoid inhaling smoke.

Prepare Now

  • Review and discuss the safety tips with your entire household to make sure everyone understands what to do in a forest/wildland fire.
  • Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your address so that fire vehicles can easily find your home.
  • Practice evacuating your home. Teach all household members the technique of "stop, drop and roll" in case clothes catch on fire.
  • Install smoke detectors and sprinklers on every floor and by all sleeping areas.
  • Plan several escape routes away from your home by car and by foot.
  • Create a safety zone around your home. Modify or eliminate brush, trees and other vegetation near your home.
  • Consult with your local fire department about making your home fire-resistant.

For more information on forest fires and your health, visit the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

For more information on forest fires and your safety, visit the Ministry of Natural Resources.