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What should you do if you get trapped by a wildfire?

By Holly Yan, CNN

Published August 1, 2018

Whether you ignored evacuation orders or didn't hear warnings at all, there's not much time to act if you're surrounded by a fast-moving wildfire.

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The first step is to call 911. After that, here's what fire experts say you should do:

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If you're trapped in your car:

  • Park your car in an area clear of vegetation.

  • Close all vehicle windows and vents.

  • Lie on your car's floor.

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If you're trapped in your car:

Cover yourself with a blanket or jacket "to deflect some of the radiant heat off of you," said Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean.

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If you're trapped at home:

  • Stay inside your house.

  • Keep doors and windows closed but unlocked.

  • Stay away from outside walls and windows.

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If you're trapped at home:

Fill sinks and tubs with water, since you'll probably lose power. "This is a way to stock up on water," McLean said.

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If you're stuck outside:

Try to find a place free from vegetation, like a ditch or depression on level ground.

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If you're stuck outside:

Lie face down and cover your body. "You want to protect your airway," McLean said. "That is what the leading cause of death in a fire is … [inhaling] hot gases produced by a fire."

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