Wildfires are common in Texas, especially after long periods of drought. They can spread quickly and produce dangerous smoke, threatening property, lives and health. Help reduce your risks by learning how to respond.

What do I need to know about a wildfire in my area?

Be prepared to evacuate. When the threat of wildfires is high, stay tuned to local radio, television or get information from the National Weather Service about NOAA Weather Radio. Be prepared to evacuate immediately. Taking the following precautions can help you evacuate safely and quickly:

What are the health threats of wildfire smoke?

Smoke can pose a serious health threat, especially if you have chronic heart or lung disease. Children and older adults are also at greater risk. Even healthy people can be affected by smoky conditions. Smoke from wildfires is a mixture of gases and fine particles from burning trees and plants. It can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system and worsen symptoms from pre-existing conditions. Common symptoms of smoke exposure include:

If you experience any of these symptoms, take the following measures:

Wildfire Recovery

Personal Safety

Wildfires in Texas can spread quickly, damaging lives and property. But even after fires are put out, people should take care to avoid injuries as they return home to begin the recovery process. DSHS urges people to be aware of the following hazards:

Mental Health

Mental health is also a concern as people deal with the traumatic events that surround a fire. Common feelings after a wildfire include fear, sadness and guilt. People can have trouble sleeping or feel jumpy, irritable, or numb. These symptoms are normal, and there are things people can do to cope with traumatic events:

For mental health assistance or additional information, dial 2-1-1.

SOURCE: Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)