What should be included in a wildfire emergency kit?

May is Wildfire Awareness Month in South Dakota. Due to the cool and wet conditions the state has been experiencing within the last few months, not many ranchers are expecting any major fire disasters within the next couple of weeks. However, just last month, the High Plains Fire burned over 100 acres in the Black Hills. Ranchers need to be prepared no matter what month of the year it is.

If a fire breaks out on your property, you won’t have a lot of time before it engulfs your house. You need to get out fast, but you also can’t leave empty-handed. Once you’re safely off your property, who knows if and when you’ll have a home to go back to? After figuring out what part of your house is the best place to put an emergency kit, here are some items you should consider placing within it or near it.

Emergency cash

This should be pretty self-explanatory. You can be gone from your ranch for weeks or months after the wildfire. Set aside some of your savings within the emergency kit to have so you can get gas, food and a place to stay at while the fire is still going on.


Invest in a flashlight as well as an additional phone charger for your current model to place in the kit. The flashlight will come in handy in case your car breaks down at night. The phone charger is crucial so you can talk to your loved ones, emergency responders and your insurance company to assess the whole situation.

First aid

You or a loved one might suffer an injury during your escape or get unlucky during your time away. Not only should you include typical stuff such as bandages, tweezers and safety pins, but you also any prescriptions or medications for current conditions you have.

Food and water

Even if you have spare cash, you should keep non-perishable food items and water to keep yourself hydrated and refreshed during your exit trip. Canned foods and granola bars should last you a long time before you can consider replacing them. Water is crucial for hotter weather and in case you got too close to the smoke.

Spare clothes and a blanket

Unfortunately, the wildfire may not give you a lot of time to get back in your house and empty your closet. Have enough clothing in the kit for each family member to last in various outdoor conditions. Blankets are also necessary to keep yourselves warm no matter what time of the year it is. You’ll need a good night’s rest after escaping from the stressful situation.


If you don’t have duplicate copies of your insurance policies, social security, medical records or estate planning documents, then acquire some and place them in the kit. You’ll need access to them when discussing your recovery options.

Fire safety tools

In dire circumstances, you need items that can help you withstand the heat as you obtain your kit. Spare fire extinguishers and face masks are worth having around during these disasters.

Financially recovering from these disasters can be extremely difficult. A qualified legal team with experience in wildland fires can help you slowly get back on your feet after these devastating losses.