Wildfire

Fire Helicopter Landed in Field

How To Prepare and Respond to a Wildfire

Wildfire is one of the primary threats to Los Altos Hills. The Town has prepared an evacuation plan that outlines the roles and responsibilities of Town Staff, first responders, and other support agencies. Residents have responsibilities too.

When to Evacuate?

Receive alerts for evacuation and other emergency actions.

Register with BOTH Nixle and Alert SCC to receive alert notices.

Alert Messages

Evacuation Warning = Heads up! Prepare to leave.

Evacuation Order = Leave NOW!

If the fire is spreading rapidly, there may not be time to give a "heads up" evacuation warning. If you receive an evacuation ORDER, DO NOT assemble any supplies. Jump in the car. Your life is more important than your possessions.

To avoid this "worst-case scenario", create a plan for evacuation today.

When the National Weather Service announces a Red Flag Warning, likelihood of fire increases. 

  • Inventory your "Go Kit" (PDF)
  • Fill the car with gas (earthquake and fire preparedness suggest never letting your gas tank fall below 1/2).
  • Know all available methods (car, bike, foot) and directions to evacuate.
  • Know the best way to evacuate those with access or functional needs.
  • Have a plan on how to transport pets and livestock.
  • Check the Town’s social media and website for reliable information about the fire.
  • Make sure all members of the family know the plan.

When you see smoke or flames blowing in your direction

  • Monitor Town social media and website
  • Take your car out of the garage and park it facing the street with keys in the ignition
  • If you feel you need more time to evacuate than most people, leave right away. No need to wait for an official notice. It’s better to be parked out of Town and determine it was a false alarm than to be stuck in evacuation traffic.
  • Make sure your neighbors are aware of the situation.

What to expect during evacuation

  • Thick dark smoke that is so dense you won’t be able to see through it.
  • Bumper to bumper traffic leaving Town and fire and law enforcement vehicles with lights and sirens driving into the danger area.

Most roads in Town are two lanes and not very wide. To help EVERYONE evacuate as quickly as possible, only take ONE CAR. If you have room for your neighbors, go together.

Fire Access Roads are exactly that, access for fire apparatus. DO NOT use fire access roads as primary escape routes. If first responders think that the access road is the best escape route, they will escort you out. If you have truly exhausted all other escape options, you’ll have to take your chances. The City Manager will issue gate keys to a few in neighborhoods that request them.

If you cannot escape

  • Find a large open area – get in the middle to be as far away from combustibles as possible. Cover your nose and mouth to protect from smoke.
  • Find a pool, lake or stream to get into the water. Cover your nose and mouth to protect from smoke.

FAQs (PDF)

Town Evacuation Guidelines (PDF)

Prepare your property! 

Create a Defensible Space (PDF)

Hardening the outside of your home

More fire and wildfire safety resources