Tips for Surviving a Forest Fire | Canoeroots Magazine | Rapid Media
Surviving a forest fire Photo: Hap Wilson

Expert advice for surviving a deadly encounter

Forest fires spread quickly—up to eight kilometres per hour—much faster than we can run or paddle. The smell of smoke, a light dusting of ash on canoes or tents and unusual behaviour from birds and mammals are usually the first signs of an encroaching fire.

The SAS Survival Guide recommends staying calm, upwind of the fire (if possible) and moving to the closest body of water such as a lake or river. If you become trapped in the fire, do the following:

  • Keep your clothes on, as they protect you from the intense heat of a fire. Cover any exposed skin.
  • Semi-immerse yourself in the water. Care should be taken to avoid hypothermia.
  • Cup your hands around your nose and mouth or breath through a bandana.


Discover 21 more lifesaving tips for wilderness travelers in the Canoeroots and Family Camping's Late Summer 2009 issue. For more expert tips, download our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read it here.


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