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Old 05-15-2017, 09:22 AM
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I'm curious of your thoughts.*
Wilderness survival. .
*In case of Fire, If one dug down, how deep would they have to be to avoid being hurt to bad? *Could it be possible?

* * One gets low to craw out of a house to avoid smoke.
Old 05-15-2017, 01:11 PM
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You have heat issues from direct contact with flames and from radiant heat infrared. Second is oxygen - big fires take it all. Look up firestorm.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:16 PM
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I agree, unless you have a source of breathable air, sheltering from the heat will do you little good.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:35 PM
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The two common places people have historically been able to survive wild fire when over run are lakes or rivers, and less commonly mine tunnels and adits. Ed Pulaski famously saved a large group of men at gun point in 1910 during the Big Blowup by keeping them in a mine tunnel.

One of the last places people survive is in one of the reflective fire shelters that fire fighters carry. It is a last resort and mostly a morale booster.
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:55 PM
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I just found my nearly brand new Pulaski today. Had it since 1977, even has the guard. They are short person tool inmo.

Wow pre 1911 so it wasn't 45 ACP.

People have survived with their fire shelter - poor planning to resort to them in the days of radio, satellite, air support.... Don't forget your 2 road flares to burn out your area and leather gloves to help hold down the shelter.
Old 05-15-2017, 05:42 PM
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When a fire blows up especially in steep country, radios, satellite, GPS and air support are not going to save you.

The big modern fires in built up fuels are really air shows except for at night when they lay down and can be approached by ground crews.
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Old 05-16-2017, 07:18 PM
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Most people in wildfires die from lack of oxygen followed by smoke inhalation.
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Old 05-16-2017, 09:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ppine View Post
When a fire blows up especially in steep country, radios, satellite, GPS and air support are not going to save you.

The big modern fires in built up fuels are really air shows except for at night when they lay down and can be approached by ground crews.
The other place people survive fires is inside a structure. A firestorm passes fairly quickly; a building burns slower. There may (or may not) be a survivable window between the time a wildfire passes and the time the interior of a building becomes unsurviveable.

The Australians have some interesting literature and studies on this -- their advice if you're cornered by a fire is to shelter inside, wait for the fire to pass, then get out of the building as soon as the firestorm is past.

I live in an area known for firestorms, in Arizona. I'm at the end of a dead end road. If there's a fire approaching, my plans are:

1) Bug out if possible, but not if there's a chance I'll be caught on the road.
2) Grab some wet blankets, dress in denim or heavy wool, put on leather gloves, and seek shelter in the treeless pasture a mile to the north and/or one of the fish ponds to north of us -- I personally HAVE run through flames more than once in grass fires, so I know it's possible to do so with minimal injuries. (OTOH, I have burn scars from the time I tried to crawl through a hot barb wire fence in the middle of a grass fire ... )
3) If I can't reach the pasture, take shelter in the main cabin (which has actually survived a fire that burned down a bunch of other houses in this area) and pray.

None are ideal. All have risk, particularly the last one. I am frankly quite worried by the idea of wildfire. But at least I have a game plan ... and if the worst happens, I'm going to go down fighting.
Old 05-16-2017, 10:03 PM
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Depending on how heavy the grass is it can be pretty easy to walk through the flaming front of a grass fire. I have done it many times while prescribed burning in light grass fuels. I look for a place where the fire isn't burning too vigorously and just walk through.

In a forest I would look for a grassy meadow and wait for the fire to start across. When the fire had burned most of the way across I would just go through the flaming front. Just walk through if the grass was light, or run through in heavy grass.

Be aware that you will be walking into a smoky environment and the ground will still be hot. The bad smoke will be coming from the trees and you will need to keep away from them, but the burnt grass will cool off rapidly.
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Old 05-17-2017, 09:28 AM
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bilmac has some good ideas. It would help to set the meadow on fire and burn up the fuels in it before the main fire arrives.
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Old 05-17-2017, 10:26 PM
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China, the answer you are looking for is China.
Old 05-18-2017, 08:48 AM
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I'm curious about this too. There was a major forest fire up here in Alberta and, believe it or not, it's still going, even after half a year.

I know that some forest fires can be so intense they can create their own weather patterns (thunder and lightening storms). One of the reasons it's so hard to stop forest fires in overgrown forests is fire and embers can spread the fire from beneath the earth.

I don't see how digging a hole in the ground can save you. And hiding up in a shelter? Even if you were in a fire resistant building, you'd essentially be surrounded by heat more intense than an oven.
Old 05-18-2017, 02:04 PM
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Wildland fire shelters are aluminized [to reflect heat] stiff material that will stand up pretty much by itself like a small pup tent. They are packed in a bag small enough that all fireline people carry one. They trap enough air that you can survive IF you choose a good location to deploy it. You want to set up in places where fuels are light and the fire wont linger long.

They have saved a lot of lives.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheguy View Post
I'm curious about this too. There was a major forest fire up here in Alberta and, believe it or not, it's still going, even after half a year.

I know that some forest fires can be so intense they can create their own weather patterns (thunder and lightening storms). One of the reasons it's so hard to stop forest fires in overgrown forests is fire and embers can spread the fire from beneath the earth.

I don't see how digging a hole in the ground can save you. And hiding up in a shelter? Even if you were in a fire resistant building, you'd essentially be surrounded by heat more intense than an oven.
Digging a hole?
Like I was saying about a house fire getting low under the smoke, hopefully under the danger. But it was mentioned the oxygen would be used to fast sucked up out of the hole to feed the fire aphixiating us. If we had oxygen we might survive with a percent.
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Old 05-19-2017, 08:15 AM
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Do they sell the fire shelter online or can one make something? Do the fire crew need reserve oxygen under fire shelter? A deep fox hole with fire shelter over it be better idea ?
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Old 05-19-2017, 09:23 AM
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if you've ever been on a fire crew fighting a big one in tall timber - man you know what scared is.
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Old 05-19-2017, 10:05 AM
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Marlin,
Foresters have an old saying, "Everyone wants to go on one fire."
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Old 05-19-2017, 11:20 AM
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Quote:
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Do they sell the fire shelter online or can one make something? Do the fire crew need reserve oxygen under fire shelter? A deep fox hole with fire shelter over it be better idea ?
So yes a premade foxhole that you come across would be ideal. But in practice you don't have time to build one. A fire shelter is for when you can't make it to the safety area. The time to make the foxhole would better be spent heading to the safety area- Or the time could be used to develop your own. The mix of tools carried by a wildfire crew would be far better suited to clearing a safety area than digging foxholes. Also current safety shelters are designed for use laying down, they would be hard to hold onto in a fox hole. ( we've done deployment in front of leaf blowers and large ventilation fans. Not easy.)

As far as oxygen, that is almost never a problem. The fire creates heat which makes the products of combustion rise. The fire in turn "sucks" air into the base of the fire. Particulate smoke which doesn't even have to come from the main fire, may hug the ground, as it tends to be cooler, but it has plenty of oxygen. I've had to walking frint of a fire engine, the smoke was so thick the driver couldn't see, but we had no trouble breathing.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:06 AM
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May sound totally wrong, but one way to survive a forest fire on foot, once you know where it is, can see it & know the direction it is heading. Is to find your way into an area already burned out by a previous forest fire, or big area that is primarily all rock.

A number of years back, on foot in isolated mtn terrain (prospecting) high fire season, lightening strikes all over the place started forest fires in every direction around me.

Quickly struck my little camp & moved rapidly out onto a brush/tree barren rock finger ridge. Spent a night there safe, then hiked out through a still smoldering burned out area.

Smoke was pretty bad, but I got to a road & firefighters alive, even though I looked like an old time soot covered coal miner who just worked a double shift.

No fuel, no fire.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by D2 View Post
Do they sell the fire shelter online or can one make something? Do the fire crew need reserve oxygen under fire shelter? A deep fox hole with fire shelter over it be better idea ?
They're expensive new, but you should be able to find old ones online or at garage sale. They do expire though.
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