13 Steps to Survive a Wildfire

Several wildfires throughout history have been particularly devastating due to their size, intensity, and impact on communities. Here are some of the worst wildfires on record:

1. **Black Saturday Bushfires (Australia, 2009):** These wildfires in Victoria, Australia, on February 7, 2009, resulted in 173 fatalities, destroyed thousands of homes, and burned an estimated 1.1 million acres of land.

2. **Peshtigo Fire (United States, 1871):** Occurring on the same day as the Great Chicago Fire, the Peshtigo Fire is often considered the deadliest wildfire in U.S. history. It burned through parts of Wisconsin and Michigan, killing an estimated 1,500 to 2,500 people and destroying several towns.

3. **Cedar Fire (United States, 2003):** The Cedar Fire in Southern California burned more than 273,000 acres, destroyed over 2,800 structures, and claimed 15 lives. It was one of the most destructive wildfires in California history at that time.

4. **Black Dragon Fire (China, 1987):** This wildfire in the Heilongjiang province of China burned about 10 million acres, making it one of the largest wildfires in history. It led to significant ecological and environmental damage.

5. **Camp Fire (United States, 2018):** The Camp Fire in Northern California destroyed the town of Paradise and surrounding areas. It claimed 85 lives, destroyed over 18,000 structures, and burned approximately 153,000 acres.

6. **Ash Wednesday Bushfires (Australia, 1983):** These fires, which occurred on February 16, 1983, in South Australia and Victoria, killed 75 people, destroyed thousands of homes, and burned around 2.5 million acres.

7. **Chaparral Fire (Uruguay, 1942):** The Chaparral Fire in Uruguay burned an estimated 1 million acres, causing extensive damage and affecting vast areas of grassland and forest.

These wildfires serve as reminders of the devastating impact that uncontrolled fires can have on landscapes, communities, and ecosystems. Efforts to prevent, manage, and respond to wildfires are crucial in minimizing their destructive effects.

Surviving a wildfire requires careful preparation, quick action, and prioritizing safety. Here's what you should do:

1. **Stay Informed:** Pay attention to local news, weather alerts, and official instructions from authorities. Be aware of fire danger levels in your area.

2. **Create Defensible Space:** Clear flammable vegetation, debris, and other materials from around your home to create a defensible space. This can help prevent the fire from reaching your property.

3. **Emergency Kit:** Prepare an emergency kit with essential supplies, including water, non-perishable food, medications, clothing, a flashlight, batteries, a first aid kit, important documents, and a mask to protect against smoke inhalation.

4. **Evacuation Plan:** Have a clear evacuation plan in place. Know multiple routes out of your area and establish a meeting point for your family.

5. **Communication:** Keep a charged cell phone with you and have a backup method of communication, such as a battery-powered weather radio or walkie-talkies.

6. **Protective Clothing:** Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy shoes, gloves, and a mask or cloth to protect against smoke and debris.

7. **Shelter in Place:** If you're unable to evacuate, seek shelter in a sturdy building. Close all windows and doors to minimize smoke infiltration.

8. **Stay Low:** If trapped by a wildfire while outdoors, find a depression, such as a ditch, and lie low to avoid smoke and heat.

9. **Stay Calm:** Panic can hinder your ability to make rational decisions. Stay as calm as possible and focus on following your emergency plan.

10. **Stay Updated:** Continue to monitor official communication channels for updates on the fire's status and evacuation orders.

11. **Inform Others:** Let family and friends know your whereabouts and plans. Inform them once you've reached a safe location.

12. **Follow Authorities' Instructions:** Cooperate with law enforcement and emergency personnel. Follow evacuation orders promptly.

13. **Seek Shelter:** If you evacuate to a shelter, follow their rules and guidelines. Practice physical distancing and wear a mask to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Remember that wildfires can be unpredictable and dangerous. If you're ever in doubt about your safety, prioritize evacuation and follow the advice of local authorities. Your safety and the safety of your loved ones should be your top priority.

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published