Wildfires are among the biggest threats to natural habitats and ecosystems around the world. Natural causes and human behaviors have been known triggers to destructive fires that have destroyed homes and huge chunks of wildlands and forests in many places. In recent years, news of wildfires in many countries across the globe carried with it disturbing images of the level of destruction and the toll it takes to everyone involved. While there is a growing awareness on wildlife prevention, the risks and dangers still remain. Knowing what you do when you are caught in a wildfire is a survival skill everyone needs to learn, especially for those who live or frequent wildfire-prone areas. Here’s what you should do if caught in one.
- Stay as calm as possible. Wildfire is scary and the fear could paralyze you from making quick decisions that could save your life. Do not let panic overwhelm you. Stay as calm as you can so you can act before the fire spreads quickly.
- Head towards the direction of a lake, pond, other body of water, rocky areas, or any place with little vegetation.
- Find a clearing away from vegetation or trees and lie as low as you can on the ground. If possible, douse your clothes and the ground around you with water.
- Put a wet cloth over your nose or breathe as close as you can to the ground to avoid the smoke.
- Do no run uphill as the fire may even spread more quickly because of updrafts.
- Do not try to outdistance or run away from the fire. Instead, find the safest place for you to crouch as low as you can on the ground until the fire passes.
- Immediately call for help as soon as it is fairly safe for you to do so.