What To Do When Trapped By Wildfire In Your Car
Jul 20, 2020, 6:26 PM | Updated: Jul 13, 2023, 11:18 am
LEEDS, Utah — A day after dozens of vehicles became trapped by flames that came dangerously close to the interstate and destroyed one car, firefighters have talked about what drivers should do when they face a similar situation.
Fire officials said when and if a wildfire ever gets close to drivers like we saw Sunday, the safest choice is to stay inside the vehicle.
Unified Fire Authority spokesperson Matthew McFarland said ideally when drivers see smoke, they should immediately turn around and avoid the situation altogether.
If you find yourself in a worst-case scenario – bumper-to-bumper traffic with nowhere to go – stay put and leave your vehicle running with your lights and hazards on so you are visible.
“Staying in your car is going to be the safest place for you. Turning off your vents, making sure your AC is off and your vents are shut is going to limit the amount of smoke coming into your car,” said McFarland. “It is going to make it easier to breathe for you. Past that, make sure your headlights and your tail lights are on, because accidents happen in this scenario.”
McFarland added that a vehicle will protect you more than if you are out in the elements.
A highway is inherently an area that will not burn, and firefighters often use roadways as fuel breaks.
McFarland said the last thing you ever want to do is put yourself in the fuel by driving off into the brush assuming you can outrun it.
Also, avoid slowing down traffic by watching the fire. You want to get out as soon as possible for the safety of yourself and everyone around you.