AP Photo/Noah Berger

How to prepare for wildfires

Short introduction

What to do before:

The most obvious — terrain: don’t live in a fire-prone area where it is very hot, very windy, and dry as *uck for that sort of fire to start. If you are going to buy a house in a wildfire area don’t buy it on a slope! Fires burn much faster uphill than down. This is because the radiation and convection a fire creates preheat the unburned fuel ahead of the flame front, and this is done more effectively upslope than down. A 10-degree increase in slope usually results in a doubling of the speed of the fire. Fire will spread up a 20-degree slope four times as fast as it will along flat ground. You can’t outrun it — it can move up to 400km (250miles) per hour uphill.

  • Facemask and goggles! I wrote a long article about preps for Covid19 and one of the chapters was about facemasks. A disposable, half mask or full face respirator will do the trick. Don’t use any cloth-based mask nor surgical mask. The facemask must filter the ashes and particles in the air. If you are buying a disposable — any N95+ mask. Halfmasks and full masks are using cartridges — the best is the 7093 filter P100. The most important is to filter the most airborne particles as possible.
  • The bag. A hiking backpack that doesn’t screen “military!” and is water-resistant. Something like this
  • Cash
  • Outdoor clothes. and high vis clothing. During a wildfire, it gets very dark from all the ashes. Clothes made out of leather and wool or cotton. Not synthetic stuff.
  • Your most important documents (and a USB and cloud backup with all of them scanned and archived)
  • Hiking shoes and good socks!
  • Ultralight tent for when the bugout location is overrun
  • Sleeping pad and sleeping bag
  • MRE for 3 days
  • A portable stove with camping cookware
  • Headlamp and whistles
  • Duct tape, saw, a small axe,
  • Ferro rods, BIC lighters, storm matches
  • Toilet paper
  • Garbage bag
  • toiletries, Wet wipes,
  • earplugs
  • Sewing kit
  • First aid kit
  • Binoculars
  • electronics (FM radio, cellphone, Ham radio), Chargers, cables.
  • Flashlight
  • Water + filtration + 30 Water Treatment Tabs
  • Knife

What to do when it is too late and you didn’t prepare:

If actually caught and unable to escape you have to dig in and cover with DRY WOOLEN BLANKETS! Do not use any wet blankets or clothes — you’ll boil alive. Do not use any synthetic blankets as they will catch fire or melt.

What to do after?

  • Do not return until instructed to do so.
  • Listen to authorities before drinking water from the area.
  • Avoid items that are hot, smoky, or charred.
  • Text friends and family, but don’t call. Lines may be busy.
  • Wear a dust mask and document property damage.
  • Beware of the risk of flooding, since trees and protective vegetation might have been removed, exposing loose soil.
  • If your house is still standing and in good condition use air filters and purifiers. You can make one yourself for 25 usd https://youtu.be/kH5APw_SLUU or buy one that is rated MERV 13 or MPR 1500–1900 or FPR 10.

Stay safe

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