Q:

How to Protect Yourself From Wildfires: Fire Shelter

What if you are backpacking or camping, and are confronted by a fast-moving wildfire? What should you do? What should you carry?

Jun 11, 2012
Outside
Outside Magazine
New Generation Fire Shelter

New Generation Fire Shelter    Photo:Courtesy of New Generation Fire Shelter

A:

The key to protecting yourself from wildfires is avoidance. Use equipment as your last line of defense. But in the unlikely chance lightning or some other ignition source causes a fire between you and the trailhead, a digital or paper map would be your most important piece of gear. You should always have an alternate route, to avoid being dead-ended in a canyon or caught up against a steep slope.

Fire shelters such as this Anchor Industries model, are expensive at $300 and should be regarded absolutely as a device of last resort. They’re also heavy (five pounds) and require some training to use properly.

Wildland firefighters wear Nomex clothing and hard hats, carry shovels and Pulaskis (a combination of pick and axe), and pack special survival shelters in the event they are overrun, but they aren’t really practical for backpackers.

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