Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Protective travelling in the bushfire season.

If a grass fire approaches you while travelling in a car, 
you can be safe by staying in it. 
The radiant heat given out by grass fire flames, however, can be intense. 
Many travellers who have died when confronted by grass fires 
would most likely have survived. had they stayed in their cars.

Car refuge safety depends on fire intensity, flame height, amount of vegetation, whether parked on clear ground or grass, the distance of the car from flames and if the duration of flames themselves is less than 10 seconds. Grass fire flames last 5–15 seconds and the front passes quickly. 
Always carry a pure wool blanket for each passenger 
when travelling in rural areas in the summer

Picture from Grassfires, fuel, weather and fire behaviour (CSIRO Publishing, 1997) by N. P. Cheney and Andrew Sullivan

Cars can be death traps in most forest fires as these flames can last five minutes.

As with houses, cars burn down from the inside. 
When people die in cars they are killed by the fuel inside the car: fibreglass, hydraulic fluids, petrol, plastics, insulation, magnesium alloys, and toxins given off by them.  Duco burns in 15 seconds on a car 4.5 metres from only 40 o, 3-metre high flames. Upholstery and trims can burn within one minute.

Only faulty petrol tanks have been known to explode. 
The tank won’t explode in the short sheltering time of grass or mild forest fire.

Both The Complete Bushfire Safety Book and Essential Bushfire Safety Tips 
have chapters on protective travelling during the bushfire season.