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Old 05-20-2017, 05:45 AM
bilmac bilmac is offline
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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 ?
I really don't think you would want one. They are for folks who KNOW they are going into danger on the edge of a wildfire. They weigh probably around 4#. Are you really going to carry something like that every time you go to the woods?

The odds of you ever encountering a fire are slim to none. If you are ever in the presence of a wildfire, just move away from it, not towards it like firefighters do. If in the billion to one chance one should ever get close enough to really endanger you, you have had some good advice here, use your head and legs. There are FAR better ways to survive than a fire shelter meant for EMERGENCY use only. NO CIVILIAN should ever find themselves in that position.
Old 05-20-2017, 12:19 PM
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I think that really depends on where you are. I narrowly missed an emergency evacuation while hiking back country a few years ago when Yosemite went up.
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Old 05-20-2017, 03:37 PM
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bilmac,
I think there is some risk from wild fire when in the back country. Modern fires in built up fuels and neglected forests can move faster than people can out run them. I was camping two years ago with some friends in the Sierra. The only road in was very rough. We woke up to a fire one morning that was only a couple of miles away. We all left but my friends could not see the danger and went back up there. All it would take is a couple of trees across the road and there is no way out except onfoot in steep country.
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Old 05-20-2017, 09:56 PM
ljcygnet ljcygnet is offline
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If conditions are so severe that an explosively deadly fire might happen, you might want to skip the trip and go another time when the forest is less crunchy.
Old 05-20-2017, 10:58 PM
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If conditions are so severe that an explosively deadly fire might happen, you might want to skip the trip and go another time when the forest is less crunchy.
Unfortunately in some country that is the only time it is "safe" to hike.
Old 05-21-2017, 07:41 AM
bilmac bilmac is offline
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When I hike ounces count.

The firefighters shelter is the least best option when every other choice won't work. Depending on it could cause someone to deploy it when there are better choices. Firefighters get training on how to use them. Choosing the right location is important. Then they have a tool with which to clear a spot. They are not fool proof they have saved lives, but people have also died under them.
Old 05-23-2017, 11:34 PM
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If you have any reason to think there might be a fire and you are in the backcountry, get your rear end out ASAP. Depending on how close it was, I'd be willing to dump everything, except a little water, for maximum mobility. You'll have to use your own judgment as to where to head but sticking to the main trail may be a good idea. Firefighters know there may be hikers and backpackers and that is where they'll send warning and rescue helicopters.

I'd send home a text on my SPOT, indicating exactly what I planned to do.

Fire travels very quickly uphill. It travels very quickly with the wind. In a pinch, ideally, you'd head downhill and into the wind but crosswind is better than nothing. Downhill is the most important. I have seen fires go uphill much faster than you could run.

You can start a backfire and try to burn out the fuel around yourself. Depending on conditions you may want a backfire between you and the large fire. Or you may start a fire and follow it if the wind pushes it in the same direction as the larger fire is going.

Even if you clear out some space between you and the main fire or find rocky sandy terrain where the main fire can't go, a really big fire can cook you. I remember the heat from the station fire out here and at 200 yards, it was uncomfortable. At 20 yards you'd be bubbling like fat in a frying pan.

This is where digging a hole and covering yourself with a fire shelter comes into play. The shelter reflects the radiant heat and insulates from the heated air. The hole in the ground further blocks the radiant heat and provides a pocket of coolness that the shelter protects. Also, separates you from the noxious gasses with a small below ground air supply. First you find/create a large bubble of nonflammable area and within that you create a small bubble of survivable conditions. It is not something you would do if an evacuation were at all possible.

Just digging a hole in the middle of fuel won't help much, no matter how deep you dig.

And people have the gall to gripe about campfire bans when the fuel is so dry you can start a fire just by laying a water bottle in the wrong spot!

https://www.theatlantic.com/technolo...elters/371421/
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Old Yesterday, 06:09 AM
Don H Don H is offline
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In my 30 years as a firefighter I did little wild land firefighting, mostly in Florida but what TMcArthur says is good advice.
Old Yesterday, 12:48 PM
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I hope your friends got out ok. If anyone sees a wildfire up close and personal it changes their entire perspective as to what is an appropriate level of caution.
Old Yesterday, 01:52 PM
ajole ajole is offline
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They don't call the shelters "Shake and Bake" kits just for fun.

I worked on a hot shot crew one summer, it was amazing how at daybreak there could be no fire visible, but as the sun came out and things warmed up, flames would spring up all over from hot spots that had been smoldering all night.

If I were looking at using one, it would be AFTER I had exhausted every other way to get out from in front of the fire, and I'd still be looking even harder at whether I could run through the front of the fire somehow.

They have saved a few lives, and failed to save a few lives. I wouldn't bother with one as a hiker/hunter.
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Old Yesterday, 03:19 PM
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This is an interesting chart of the moisture content of the fuels in the Los Padres National Forest over time. The lower the content, the faster a fire will spread. During the critically low period in late summer, all fires of any kind are prohibited. Some areas may simply be closed to all recreation.

When I say a fire can be started by a water bottle sitting in the wrong spot, I am dead serious.
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Old Yesterday, 04:23 PM
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I almost had a chance to find out this past Labor day when I found myself in the path of the "Saddle Fire" here in NCal. As it turned out the flames were less than 50 yards from the only road out when I evacuated. The radiant heat at the house, almost a quarter mile away from the flames was almost enough to give me first degree burns.

If I hadn't been able to get out, I would have driven down the access road (which we had cleared the month before) to Oroville Lake and hoped the heat would not get too bad in the water. I might have even tried to swim to the other side which was only a couple hundred yards.

We lost everything except what we had on us or in our cars, but in all it could have been worse, I even saved the cat.
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