WildFire Resource Guide & How Disability Rights California Can Help You


WildFire Resource Guide & How Disability Rights California Can Help You

A wildfire burning at night.

It is wild fire season in California and there are many fires across the state. These fires can cause the following problems for people who have disabilities.


Wildfire Resource Guide
& How Disability Rights California
Can Help You

If you have an emergency or are in trouble, call 911. Disability Rights California cannot help you evacuate or stay safe.

We can help you if you need help with your legal rights including:

  1. The alerts not being accessible.
  2. If you go to a shelter or evacuation site and it is not accessible.
  3. If your service or emotional support animal is not allowed in a shelter with you.
  4. If you need access to medicine or equipment that you did not bring with you and have questions about how to get it.

We can talk to you about your questions, determine how we can help, and get you the information that you need.

For assistance, please contact the Disability Rights California confidential intake line at 1-800-776-5746 or TTY call: 1-800-719-5798 available 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday.

Fire Safety

It is wild fire season in California and there are many fires across the state. These fires can cause the following problems for people who have disabilities:

  • You may be evacuated.
  • The air is full of smoke, which can make it hard for you to breathe.
  • Your power may go out.

Know Your Rights

  • Updates, warnings, and alerts should be accessible. This means you should be able to know and understand what is happening in your neighborhood. 
  • You should have access to transportation if you are evacuated.
  • If you are evacuated, any place you go should be accessible.
  • If you have a service or emotional support animal, that animal should be allowed inside shelters and other evacuation sites.

Make Sure You Have A Plan

  • Are you signed up for emergency alerts?  If you are not, you can call your local office of Emergency Management Services and subscribe to alerts.
  • Are you packed? You should have a bag ready if you have to leave fast. The bag should include everything you need, including medicine and other supplies.
  • If you are going to evacuate, do you need a ride? If you do, you should know who you are going to call ahead of time and make sure you have a backup.
  • Do you know where you are going to go?  Make sure you know where you want to evacuate to. 
  • When you get to the evacuation site, what do you need? You may want to have a list of things that you will need for it to be accessible written down so that you don’t forget anything when you get there.
  • For Disaster Checklist: https://t.co/47cPp94k0a?amp=1
  • Emergency Supply Kit: Be prepared to use what you have on hand to make it on your own for at least three days, maybe longer. For more information, click here.

Fire Updates

For updates on fires in your area, you should visit the Cal Fire website here: https://www.fire.ca.gov/

For updates about evacuations where you live, you should go to your local emergency management office. You can find this by searching “Emergency Management Office [your county name.]”

For helpful information about Disability Disaster Access, here is a good website from the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers:  http://disabilitydisasteraccess.org/


When the air is full of smoke, it may be dangerous for some people to go outside. For other people, it may be impossible to work. Here are some things you may want to think about:

  • Talk to you doctor if you have a medical condition that makes smoke dangerous for you. Your doctor may have ideas on how to protect yourself.
  • Talk to your local Department of Public Health to see if there is any extra PPE or where you may be able to find PPE if you need something special because of your medical condition.
  • If you have a medical condition that makes it hard to work when the air is full of smoke, you may need to ask for a reasonable accommodation or modification to your work structure.
  • You should be aware that air quality can change rapidly. Use this for updates on air quality by zip code. https://www.airnow.gov/

Additional Resources

Emergency shelter locator: For emergency shelter information contact the Red Cross at: https://www.redcross.org/get-help/disaster-relief-and-recovery-services/find-an-open-shelter.html

Red Cross:

Central California: https://www.redcross.org/local/california/central-california.html

Southern California:  https://www.redcross.org/local/california/southern-california.html

Gold Country (Far Northern and Northeastern CA): https://www.redcross.org/local/california/gold-country.html

Northern California Coast:  https://www.redcross.org/local/california/northern-california-coastal.html

Los Angeles: https://www.redcross.org/local/california/los-angeles.html

Disaster Planning







Mental Health Support:

For mental health support during a fire, here is a link to a disaster distress help line: https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disaster-distress-helpline