preparing for high wind event wildfires

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SSSdave
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Re: preparing for high wind event wildfires

Post by SSSdave » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:12 am

There have been several report of people attempting to escape the fire that were not able to drive out due to road blockage or fires alongside roads that instead found a lake or stream to get into while a fire was raging beside them. In fact a horse made the news of getting into a swimming pool that later shivering needed help to get back out. Several people for instance went into Concow Reservoir that is east of Paradise about a mile. They found the experience cold but endurable.

There are some people in remote rural areas, especially those within heavily vegetation woodland, forest, or chaparral zones that even if they have say a defensible area around their wooden homes, may not expect to be able to evacuate during wildfires because small roads leading away are likely to be blocked by fire. A solution could be to construct a small fireproof enclosed shelter separate from a dwelling that also has smoke air filtering with enough room for just one to few people. And I am talking small here, for instance 2 person size might be just 5x5x7 feet lwh. Cement, brick, rock. Maybe just cinder block walls with a metal roof top. The powering for the smoke filtering fan could come from an external battery. It would also have a place to sit, a few shelves with a small minimal kit of emergency medical supplies, smoke masks, flashlight, food, water, oxygen bottle, map, a book or two. Note for decades there have been those that have built, bunkers, fall-out shelters, tornado shelters, etc however with a simple search did not see anything meant to escape wildfires.

One would not expect to ever be within such a shelter to escape heat of a fire for more than an hour or two however if roads were blocked, one might need to be within the shelter overnight or a day or two if smoke was an issue. The small shelter air volume would make it easier to filter out smoke. If one might need to spend such longer periods in the shelter, a person fleeing an imminent fire could grab warmer clothing, even a sleeping bag, and also any important person items like a document file box.

The most expensive part of a shelter would be the smoke filter. It is not easy to filter out a lot of wildfire smoke especially down to a level it can barely be smelt. There are many consumer filters for removing cigarette smoke in rooms, however heavy wildfire smoke is likely to clog such products quickly. A cheaper filter would be ok if the goal is just to survive, however a person is not going to want to endure noticeable levels of smoke more than short periods. To endure longer periods, for several hundred dollars there are products and one may need to have spare filters depending on time within a shelter. A larger filter system also means a larger battery for power. In some small rural communities where such fires are possible, larger emergency shelters for more people could also be built.

Another reason a shelter could be useful to a person defending their wooden home, is once an evacuation order was given it could allow them to not evacuate and instead perform emergency actions like watering down their home and removing as much flammable material up against their home as possible in the last minutes. And it would give a person more time to deal with grabbing important materials like documents they might save.








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Re: preparing for high wind event wildfires

Post by Wandering Daisy » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:24 am

An above-ground shelter may not be able to keep the inside cool enough. An underground shelter, like a root cellar may be better.

My daughter who lives in Durango is in a new upscale subdivision that has really strict building codes that require fire-proof houses. The largest expense when they built their house was concrete. In less affluent subdivisions, the cost would likely be prohibitive. I think in this case, some government grants would need to be made so that they could afford the more expensive fire code building.

The logical plan would be simply not to allow development or re-building in fire-prone areas. Perhaps in this case, there could be land-swaps that would allow those who lost homes in the fire to build on state land. The problem with the Paradise area vs Napa, is that Paradise is a much lower income town with very limited resources to rebuild with stricter codes.

I will say when I read that some people survived by going into that reservoir, I now think walking down to the American River if a fire struck here is not that bad of an idea. I am not sure we would not just become boiled meat if we were to hole out in our swimming pool.

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Re: preparing for high wind event wildfires

Post by dave54 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:51 am

Here is the syllabus for the firefighting class.

http://fire.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/firenv ... Manual.pdf

Unit three talks about basics of mountain weather, and may be of interest for general outdoors recreation. The final unit talks about specific actions and some nuggets can be gleaned about what a homeowner can do in few minutes you have before you must bug out -- unhook the propane bottle from the backyard grill and get rid of it (how far can you toss it?), put a ladder against the house on the side away from the fire, fill the kid's wading pool with water (or bucket, or whatever you have). Leave garden hoses hooked up and coiled. Remove anything up against the house like lawn furniture, unlock all gates providing access to your yard. Toss in the pool if you have one. Make it easier for firefighters to defend your home.
Of course, the best actions are done in advance, like vegetation clearances. Other points are take the extra gas cans, paint, solvents, and all the other household chemicals out of your attached garage and put them in a storage shed away from the house. And secure your ammunition. Nothing gets a firefighter's attention faster than hearing ammo pop off, and they may disengage and let your house go.
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Re: preparing for high wind event wildfires

Post by longri » Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:38 pm

Wandering Daisy wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:24 am
I am not sure we would not just become boiled meat if we were to hole out in our swimming pool.

Wrong cooking term. You wouldn't boil, you'd roast. Or asphyxiate. If you had an air supply that allowed you to stay submerged you'd probably make it. But stashing scuba gear near the pool would be kind of an odd way to prepare for a fire storm.


What I wonder is how likely is this in a more urban environment, without the fuel of a nearby forest. A fire storm in a well paved city is certainly possible. But, outside of some major catastrophe, is it a realistic scenario?

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Re: preparing for high wind event wildfires

Post by freestone » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:13 pm

longri wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 1:38 pm
Wandering Daisy wrote:
Sat Nov 17, 2018 11:24 am
I am not sure we would not just become boiled meat if we were to hole out in our swimming pool.

Wrong cooking term. You wouldn't boil, you'd roast. Or asphyxiate. If you had an air supply that allowed you to stay submerged you'd probably make it. But stashing scuba gear near the pool would be kind of an odd way to prepare for a fire storm.


What I wonder is how likely is this in a more urban environment, without the fuel of a nearby forest. A fire storm in a well paved city is certainly possible. But, outside of some major catastrophe, is it a realistic scenario?
I drove 101 through the Woolsey fire on Thursday and noticed that new densely constructed PUDs were spared even though the surrounding landscape was completely consumed by the fire. Maybe PUDs are easier for CalFire to defend than the Malibu mansions?
“Short cuts make long delays.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

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Re: preparing for high wind event wildfires

Post by SSSdave » Tue Dec 11, 2018 5:09 pm

The top California fire person is echoing things I have been saying that is a good sign. Expect over years he has been quietly butting heads with politicians, real estate, and banking people trying to make changes but has been ignored. So upon exiting, gives him a chance to openly voice his mind without worrying about pressure.

https://www.sfgate.com/news/us/article/ ... 457824.php

snippet:

Communities in fire zones need to harden key buildings with fireproof construction similar to the way cities prepare for earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes, and should prepare commercial or public buildings to withstand fires with the expectation hundreds may shelter there as they did in makeshift fashion when flames last month largely destroyed the Sierra Nevada foothills city of Paradise in Northern California.

To adapt, he advocates wildfire warning systems that not only use new technology like automated phone calling systems, but maybe restoring civil defense-style emergency sirens in some areas. City planners must prepare communities "unlike we ever have before" with easy evacuation routes and new evacuation centers.

And he said Californians must treat "red flag" extreme fire danger warnings the way Midwesterners treat tornado warnings — as imminent threats.

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