Published on Jun 18, 2014
Wildfires and forest fires are found everywhere, especially in California. Many films have been made about people fighting to contain them. If you’re caught in one, watch this to learn how to survive.
Wildfires burn down millions of acres of land every year, with over 50,000 communities at very high risk of wildfire damage in the US alone. If you ever find yourself caught in one, here’s how to survive.
What is it?
A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation occurring in the countryside or a wilderness area. They include fires such forest fires, desert fires, grass fires, and brush fires, depending on the type of vegetation being burned.
Where are they located?
Wildfires commonly occur in climates that are moist enough to allow vegetation growth, but also have extended periods of dry, hot weather. Some areas experience higher frequencies of wildfires, such as the southern California region.
How will it kill you?
Aside from burning to death, wildfires can also kill by the harmful gases being released. Smoke can fill your lungs until you suffocate to death. Many deaths also occur after the fire takes place due to the deadly health effects and illnesses these gases can cause on the human body. Some of these illnesses include bronchitis, pneumonia, and heart attack.
How to survive:
If you find yourself caught in the middle of a wildfire, find an escape route fast as fires can come roaring in your direction at extremely high speeds. Safe areas include rivers, lakes, or large level spots out in the open away from combustible material. If you’re on a hill, try to make your way downhill, since heat rises and fires generally tend to travel in an uphill direction. If the flames are gaining on you, seek low ground such as a ditch that you can temporarily hide in that allows the heated current to pass overhead. Another place to make your way towards is an area that has already burned-over with no residual combustibles that may re ignite. But tread carefully on the hot ground and keep a lookout overhead to avoid snags and dead trees that may fall on you. While doing all this, be sure to breathe inside your clothing next to your body or with a wet rag covering your face to protect your respiratory tract from the heat, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other hot gases.
So how many people worldwide die from wildfire effects every year?
An estimated 339,000 people die every year from wildfires and their post incendiary effects.
So would you rather…get caught in a wildfire? Or suffer a bite from a black mamba?