It happens even to the best hikers and campers. They underestimate the drought of the forest where they are hiking or camping. But the next thing they know, they’re in the middle of a massive forest fire. In the past couple of years, we have seen how forest fires essentially tear down hundreds of acres of forest land because of strong winds and severe drought. It is prudent for hikers and campers to know this guide before going on an adventure.
If you come across a forest fire, call the fire department so that they can send fire fighting trailers used in Australia and other parts of the globe to kill the fire and stop it from spreading. As for yourself, here are the important reminders that you need to follow when faced with a wild forest fire:
Check Where the Wind Is Going
As a general rule, run away from where the fire is heading. Usually, the wind will take the fire to its direction. Go the opposite way of the wind and proceed downhill. Although you may outrun the fire, your lungs can inhale too much smoke, which may cause you to collapse. The smoke from a forest fire always travels uphill, so try to sprint downhill toward a clearing or a body of water.
Find a Body of Water
Speaking of a body of water, find a lake, a pond, a river, or a stream where you can crouch in. Fire, of course, will only get too close to the water. You will be safe there. If there is no water, find a clearing with little vegetation and lie on the ground. Use soil, a blanket, or wet clothing to cover your body. Stay there until the fire passes. While you’re there, breath the air closes to the ground through a moist cloth. This will keep you from inhaling the smoke.
Leave Your Things
If you are hiking or camping in the forest, that means that you have loads of your things with you. It is easy to think that you still have time to pack everything in your bag and carry it when the fire is still from your location. But remember that wildfire can travel up to a speed of 20 miles per hour. It will outrun you. The moment you see a forest fire coming near you, run for cover — while calling the fire department, of course — and leave your things. You won’t have as much time as you think to pack your things away and carry that load.
Evacuate Your Property
When the firefighters advise you to evacuate your homes, do so. There have been many cases in the past when homeowners living in the forestland are too hard-headed to follow the fire department’s orders until the very last minute. Do not be a liability for the firefighters. They are doing their best to protect you and your family, so let them do their job. If you are asked to evacuate, it’s because it is necessary.
About 90% of forest fires are caused by people camping on the forest grounds. Unattended campfires are the leading cause of forest fires. Other things such as fireworks, burning leaves, sparks from vehicles, and cigarette tossed from cars can also cause forest fires.