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How to escape in case of forest fire

20 January 2021

How to escape in case of forest fire

What types of fires can you face in the forest?

On the basis of the hazard level of fires and the propagation speed they are divided into a crown fire, ground fire and peat fire.

  • The crown fire is the most dangerous. In such fires the trees burn. The propagation of speed directly depends on the wind velocity.
  • The ground fire is characterized by burning of grass and lower bushes. This type of ignition is hazardous because the fire can spread over the trees.
  • Burning of peat is less hazardous for people. In comparison with a crown fire or a ground one, the peat smolders releasing pungent smoke into the atmosphere.

It is rather easy to detect the outbreak of fire. You will smell smoke, observe restlessness of birds and hear their loud cries. If one happens to see wild animals, their behavior will seem to be untypical, and lower clouds will catch some reflections of light.

What we must do after the fire detection

Most importantly, in the situation of emergency one should keep self-control and try not to give in to panic. This is the only way to cope with a current situation without significant problems.

  1. Having detected a small fire outbreak, one should immediately direct measures against the flame spread by overwatering it or covering it up with soil. The burning grass can be stamped out, and the flame can be extinguished with wet clothing and branches, which are not dry.  
  2. When you realize that it is impossible to cope with fire on your own, you should immediately leave the site of inflammation. It is important to determine the direction of fire spread in order not to come to meet it. There are several characteristic features for doing that, among which is the direction of the wind. You should escape the site, keeping to the wind, not against it. When you move to the direction, which is perpendicular to the wind, the likelihood of your walking around the fire will be much higher.
  3. When there is no wind you may observe other characteristic features:
    • Apparent fire;
    • Apparent puffs of smoke;
    • The direction of migration of birds and animals – they will always escape the fire.
  4. If the means of communication are available, you should certainly report about fire to the rescue service. Firefighting experts will immediately arrive to the site of fire and they not only direct measures to the fire extinction but to your rescuing.
  5. If the place is familiar to you, you should run to the nearest water body, open clearing, cut-through or a forest road. If you are surrounded by dense smoke, secure your respiratory passages with a piece of wet cloth.
  6. If it is impossible to escape from fire, for instance, if you find yourself surrounded by fire, try to find the burned site and lay down (if only it is not a peat bog). Here, on the surface, air is less filled with smoke. Meanwhile, you should breathe through a wet piece of cloth. This is a very dangerous way of escaping danger but in this situation it is the only method.  
  7. When you have worries about burning of peat, you should move with great caution. The significant burning-out of the upper-layer can lead to funneling, and there will be a danger of falling into the hottest place.
  8. When you succeed in escaping from the fire area, you should immediately report about the fire to the forest guard service.

Preventive Safety Measures

Understandably, people heading to the forest rarely think of any possible danger. Nevertheless, by observing the rules they can make themselves safe from possible situations of emergency. Please, behave as follows:

  • Pay attention to the weather forecast and headline news. If you get to know about the fire hazardous situation, it is better to postpone your trip.
  • Spread the word to your acquaintances about your whereabouts.
  • You should take a bigger supply of food and water – just in case…
  • The mobile phone battery should be fully charged. On your way anywhere try to keep under observation the limits of the access area.
  • Do not walk too far from the roads or settlements.

At last, please, be careful building a campfire. When you leave a spot, you must choke the fire!