Wildland fire shelters designed, tested in Missoula

Wildland fire shelters designed, tested in Missoula

03 July 2013

published by www.kpax.com

USA — The shelters that were used by the firefighters who died while battling an Arizona on Sunday are designed and tested by U.S. Forest Service experts in Missoula.

The shelters have been around since the 1960’s, with officials tellig us the most recent version came out in 2002.

Wildland firefighters are trained to have escape routes and safety zones, so a fire shelter is the last resort and should be deployed when there’s no way out.

Firefighters have these shelters attached to their gear while they’re out on a fire line. In an emergency situation, they would shake out the shelter, step inside of it, and lay face-down on the ground with their feet toward the approaching fire.

The firefighters are trained to look for appropriate deployment sites if they need to use a shelter.

“Areas that are clear of fuels-maybe a previously burned area, a gravel area, perhaps a roadway where there’s no vehicular traffic-those are good areas, if you have to deploy a shelter that you can deploy and increase your chance for survival,” says USFS Technology and Development Deputy Director Alex Gavrisheff.

The two lead USFS equipment specialists from Missoula who work on these fire shelters are in Arizona right now helping investigate the deaths of the 19 firefighters.

A man from Ekalaka was one of those who died.

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