Damn fires. and new plans.

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by mage2, Sep 8, 2011.

  1. mage2

    mage2 Monkey+++

    So Im sure at least some of you are aware. A large part of texas is on fire. Specificly the part that affected/is affecting me is the bastrop texas area. This firestorm is massive, horrifying and at the same time I think that we all (I) should learn from it.

    As one that has a large yard with garden and some animals my primary plan has been to Bug-In. But with fires looming this presents a problem.
    With the possibility of fire you are going to have a few problems.
    Fire is the first. You will need to come up with a game plan to mimic a firefighter. So as I sat with our pile of important and BOB stuff listening to the fire fighters work I came up with a few plans.

    First off make sure the properity is clear of dead burnable stuff. Mine isnt at the present and thats a problem for me and my neighbors. The drought has killed some cedar tree's and such and its all just standing tender at this point.

    Second, source of water and how to distribute it. Currently I do not have a well and i dont know if that would help me in firefighting. While I do have a few good hoses and good water pressure, i dont think that can be relied uppon. So enter stage left something to hold a LOT of water. Well the family wants a above ground swimming pool. ;) Then i found this.
    Endurance Marine Fire Fighting System — 100 PSI, 60 GPM, Model# EFP1.5HBS | High Pressure | Northern Tool + Equipment
    Drop one end in the pool, the other aim at fire.

    Depending on pool size it could help. This moved me to the next thing. Well I know i should soak the back 40 of my properity but no way to reach it. Thats when i started thinking about a trailer with a water tank and that same pump, could be moved into the back of the property and used to soak the area. @ 60GPM a 300 gal tank wouldnt last long (5min) but would be good to put some water down or for attacking hot spots.

    Manditory evac is one issue that would be a problem. Given that one could equip the homestead with the above. it would suck to have to leave it all behind and not be allowed to man your battle station.

    In the end this showed me that I was unprepaired for this event and helped me start thinking about the options. It also shows the need for a secondary site to relocate to even if you want to bugin.

    I dont know the answers to all the questions,

    so what say you? any ideas?
  2. Capt. Tyree

    Capt. Tyree Hawkeye

    A Fire Break

    Part of the fire fighting bug-in plan that you touched on a bit that can be elaborated on is the making of a true "fire break" around your homestead. Perhaps you and your neighbors can pool $$ and locate a serviceable earth-mover/tractor for rent to at least brush hog, but preferably clear cut away most of the burnable debris, trees, brush etc.

    That would be a radical move, destroying the landscaping etc., but those kind of moves need to be part of the list of options in saving the domicile. Obviously, such a move depends on the surrounding property, nearness of neighbors and lay of the land. As they say, "Your Mileage May Vary".
    beast likes this.
  3. gunbunny

    gunbunny Never Trust A Bunny

    Any of your neighbors volunteer fire fighters? Maybe you can get with them and glean some knowledge and make plans.

    Funny, although where I'm located at the moment, we are in a flood, but I think about forrest fires at my particular bugout location. I have thought about getting a gas powered water pump and a large tank and make it fit on the back of an UTV or a trailer.

    I always figured that if I knew a fire was coming, there are going to be some trees that are going to get cut down and dragged away.
  4. Seawolf1090

    Seawolf1090 Retired Curmudgeonly IT Monkey Founding Member

    Having seen (from a safe distance) how a wind-driven wildfire can roar along, I would caution to NOT stand in front of one with a hose of ANY size - you WILL be runover! They can jump firebreaks in this condition, and are a truely awesome force of Nature.
    I have considered using a technique I saw on Navy ships and at a local auto-painter with a steel building - a water spray system atop the house! I too don't have a well, so using city water, like you said, would not be reliable.
    Once a good many years ago, I was in a rental place, and was faced with a very close forest fire. I had my truck loaded with my guns, PC, any important stuff, and was ready to BO on a moment's notice. Luckily the Forestry fire fighters got it before it hit my neighborhood.....
  5. beast

    beast backwoodsman

    brick exterior walls, steel roofing and lots of insulation do wonders to save your home
    perlite concrete works even better, fire factor of around 700
    if youre rural why not use water towers, they can be made to look cool
    in an emergency you can open them up and let them flood an area
    an old silo thats been sealed up will hold an ungodly amount of water and not look too out of place on an open piece of land
    a small wind or solar pump can keep both filled if you have a well
    firebreaks are mandatory, lots of state land around me so im used to thinking about forest fires and being ready for one
    well grazed or plowed fields also slow down a fire
    doesnt help i volunteered and fought a couple
    just a driveway kept clean does wonders as a fire break, put one all the way around your land and keep trees and brush from reaching over it
  6. Avarice

    Avarice California Health Junkie

    I agree with clearing the brush and removing trees from around your property. Keep it down and the fire won't have fuel to burn hot. That's #1, because if the fire has a lot of fuel, there's not a lot that hose will do. Manage the fuel, manage the fire.

    Cut out all the shrubs, and all the trees for 100 feet or more. Leave grass and just keep it short during the summer.
  7. chelloveck

    chelloveck Diabolus Causidicus

    Bushfires are a fact of life in rural Australia

    There is much that one can do to prepare a property against bushfire threat. The decision to stay and defend...or to evacuate is a serious one. Many people have died in Australia because they committed themselves to evacuating too late....and died in a more exposed position than the place that they were evacuating from. It is ironic that in some cases, deaths had occured that may have been saved had they not evacuated. If evacuating...evacuate early.

    I have posted a list of URLs to resources that may help people threatened by wildfire to protect themselves and their property.

    If you don't have any independant water supply such as a well, an above ground pool could be extremely useful in supplying a portable pump / sprinkler system. Pumps should be internal combustion powered....electricity supplies may be cut off by utility companies through falling trees etc. Water from water mains may be unreliable due to drop in water pressure due to overtaxing demands by housholders in the nearby area...or by emergency services draughting water from nearby hydrant points.

    If defending your property....dress appropriately.

    Dress to protect yourself from radiant heat and ember attack

    Clothing should be of natural materials, cotten or wool...NOT synhthetics as they melt and are flammable. The last thing you want is for molten fabric to adhere to your skin.

    Keep your clothing dry...that will enable maximum effect of clothing as an insulator...DO NOT DOUSE YOUR CLOTHING IN WATER...the insulation efficiency will be greatly reduced and you will literally cook yourself as the radiant heat turns the water to steam!

    Wear a hat....preferrably a hard hat

    wear eye protection...smoke goggles will help you to keep your vision...but ordinary safety glasses will help against loss of vision by sparks..cinders and embers.

    wear long sleave shirt....long legged jeans / pants....allow air to circulate by wearing shirts and pants that are not too tight.

    wear cotton or woollen underwear and socks....

    wear leather riggers gloves

    wear stout leather shoes or boots with good tread

    wear a cotton bandana covering your face...this will help protect your face, nose and ears from radiant heat and sparks...it will also offer some protection against smoke inhalation. When fire fighting I have used good old fashioned cotton babies nappies (diapers) for the purpose.

    Don't pile too much clothing on while actively fighting the fire...the metabolic heat you generate by purposefully defending your home when added to the radiant heat of the fire may result in heat exhaustion / heat stroke. If you are stationary and are facing an overrun...then as much insulating clothing as possible will help survival. When firefighting I normally kept a domestic fire rated fireblanket with me in case of a fire overrun.

    Carry water on you....and maintain hydration discipline....for yourself...and those fighting the fire with you...in the excitement and stress of fighting the fire it is an important measure of self preservation that can be easily neglected.

    Do NOT drink from the hoselines of fire dept appliances....the water may contain fire retardents....or may have been draughted from non potable water sources.

    When fighting a fire...ALWAYS have a plan for getting to a fire refuge. If the water from a hoseline is failing...due to falling pressure, pump failure, operator error....get back to that refuge ASAP. RADIANT HEAT KILLS...put a barrier between you and radiant heat sources.

    Good luck to all those under threat in Texas...I hope the info in this post is of some help.

    Home BushFire Protection.mov - YouTube








    BTPost likes this.
  8. E.L.

    E.L. Moderator of Lead Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    That Bastrop fire is too big. I say be ready to bugout if it gets close.
  9. mysterymet

    mysterymet Monkey+++

    Concrete monolithic dome homes are pretty fire resistant.
  10. BAT1

    BAT1 Cowboys know no fear

    Treat a fire like a Tornado. Sink a couple of large septic tanks so you can get under the surface.
    The concrete dome home is a good idea. They used to make rock rings around homes to keep fire away. Get rid of those Cedar trees.
  11. Falcon15

    Falcon15 Falco Peregrinus

    There are fires burning now less than 20 miles from where I sit. They jumped natural firebreaks (rivers) and are only 80% contained, if that. THe smoke haze here is wreaking havok with my sinuses. My home is completely encased in fire resistant materials, inclusive of the roof. However, I am surrounded by piney woods. A fire in these dessicated, dry woods would turn any house, fire "proof" or not, into an oven at the least. Remember, as much as stone/concrete protects from heat it also holds heat very nicely, hence why we line commerical baking ovens with stones. If the fire gets hot enough will shatter the glass on the windows because of the temperature differential, and get inside. Most homes with AC sit at a comfortable 50% or lower ambient humidity, that means your home is loaded with nice, dry stuff ready to catch fire if the temps soar high enough. I have witnessed first hand how drapes 10 feet from a roaring blaze experience spontaneous combustion. I don't have stone furniture. Yet. I am not being threatened, just at "red" level awareness of the nearness of these fires and with no significant rain on the horizon, we are in for a fight.

    We have a large garden, and livestock, most notably ducks and rabbits. We have our bug out plan in place, and are ready to go at a moments notice. That does not address the fact that if fire breaks out here, we lose most everything else. We have come to accept the facts, yes facts, that the Lord has control and if we are meant to lose a house or possessions, or even have just minor damage, that things can be replaced. Lives cannot. Read the book of Job. It helps.

    I also want to point out that if you are trying to stave off a fire with a garden hose, you may as well be trying to pee up a rope. Do what you need to do to secure your loved ones and most valued possessions, ones that cannot be replaced, and get the hell out! I learned that valuable lesson during many a wildfire in my youth, and from Hurricane Andrew.

    Bottom line, as long as the system (our society) is "working", focus on saving yourself and your irreplaceable possessions. It is just stuff. Nothing worth dying over.
    hedger likes this.
  12. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

    If you have enough room around your house do what we do.... disk around your home.... if you disk in your lawn/field areas theer is less to burn and you can consentrate on keeping the roof of your house fire free... this should limit the exposure to your house... if you leave your yard un disked but have disked an area around it an old cotton style mop and a bucket of water can limit the burning of your lawn by back firing it... (assumes that you can do this with out starting another major fire......) start a small fire and limit the exposure by using the wet mop to slow/put out the slow burning fire... it works...
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    If the fire is as big as the Texas fire, firebreaks, that are put in by Hand, or even One Dozer, are useless, as the flying embers will breach any such firebreak, that isn't hundreds of yards wide, if the fire is wind driven This is what most forest firefights Know by experience, especially in Flat Country. Where you build firebreaks is on ridge tops, where you get the wind helping you, rather than hurting your efforts, but in flat country there are no ridge tops to work with, so you need to use backfires, to make the firebreaks very wide, and then man the breaks with teams to put out the embers when they, invariably, land. It is an almost impossible task, to stop one of these, without Backfire made fire Breaks, and these are a last ditch resort because unless planned exactly right, they can get away for the firefighters, and do more damage than they solve. Been there, and Played in that arena.... ...... YMMV....
  14. hedger

    hedger Monkey+

    Wildfires are not timid, predictable adversaries.

    I was going to caution you that wildfires often create their own local weather, including frustratingly capricious and intense winds. Those winds can and do propel burning hot embers an impressive distance.

    The earlier comment about a fire in Texas crossing a natural windbreak (a river) should tell you a lot about the wisdom of standing your ground against such a formidable foe. If a river fails to stop a wildfire, please consider your defensive choices very carefully.

    Here in Colorado, people even frown at a summer season that gets a lot of rain and has few outbreaks of fire. They just say that more fuel for the next great conflagration is being put in place.
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