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Three safety myths about wildfire

Although the author Anna King is from the USA, the myths she talks about are relevant to any wildfire prone country in the world. Here is a summary of the myths, the full article is worth a read.

Myth #1: If you stay in the black you’re fine.
Just because timber is black doesn’t mean it will not burn again. The fuel load will be lower, but with strong winds it will burn intensely. Other problems are falling trees and limbs, as well as below ground root fires. Both of these have caused death and injury to those thinking they were safe.

Myth #2: If you’re in the city on cement with firefighters you’re safe.
The intensity of a wild fire is not understood by many. Moving out of the forest and into the city at the interface will not secure your safety. Flames 50 meters high baring down on a town will see buildings catch fire from the radiated heat, embers and direct flame contact. Have a look at aerial photos of a town after the fire has passed, often you will see burnt homes and the trees around them are green.

Myth #3: If you lose your escape route, you can call the emergency number for direction.
999, 000, 911 or whatever your emergency number is, will be working at its maximum just taking in new fire calls, they will not know what is happening at every location in a fast moving wildfire. You will be part of the problem clogging the emergency lines.
Best bet? Watch official firefighting channels on social media, and look for emergency management alerts to know where to go and what to do. If, like me, your job takes you close to the action, stick with firefighters or locals who know the terrain. Know your way out – or several ways out.

For more information, go to http://kuow.org/post/debunking-three-myths-wildfire-safety


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Asia Pacific Fire, Editor

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