Wildfires across California has burned through acres upon acres of life, property, and wild flora and fauna. These fires are destructive and costly — causing billions of dollars in damage every year. If any one’s taking notice, wildfire seasons have been starting earlier, burn longer, and reaching areas never affected before by forest blazes.
The best tactic you can apply when dealing with wildfires is to pay close attention to their current location and be pre-emptive when it comes to evacuation.
But sometimes, the blaze moves too quickly to get away in time. If you’re a hunter, backpacker or hiker caught in a sudden wildfire sparked by lightning or caught behind a wall of flames after a jog in the woods, use the tips below to get away safely. Don’t get burned, Survivors.
Keep Your Clothes Dry
When you see people pour a bucket over their heads in movies before charging into a firestorm, DON’T DO THE SAME. Films aren’t exactly known to be reliable sources of survival tips.
Wearing wet clothing in a wildfire would immediately turn the water into steam, scalding you as a result. The boiling point of water is 100 °C, while average wildfire temperatures reach 800°C. You do NOT want to be caught in one with wet clothing.
Protect Your Breathing
Getting caught in a wildfire usually means that you don’t have the necessary breathing apparatus to breathe safely. Make do by covering your mouth and nose with your shirt to prevent any harmful particles from getting into your lungs.
Do your best to get to low ground as fast as possible, if possible. Fire moves uphill faster because of updrafts, and smoke rises. You’ll find yourself in a worse position if you run up.
Check The Wind
Consider where the wind is blowing while you’re running. If the wind is blowing toward the fire from where you are standing, run into the wind.
If it’s blowing from behind the fire toward you (this is easier to deduce, as you’ll feel the intense heat blowing towards you), run perpendicular to the wind.
Don’t Get Caught In Hot Air
Avoid going through canyons or chutes — heat intense enough to cause fatalities could be funneled towards you as you descend.
Check For Burned Areas
If getting far away is not an immediate option and you’re out in the open, relocate to an area that has already burned down. The likelihood that a spark could fire up the area again is zero to none.