The fire and smoke are two keys that detect the presence of fire. Normally, both are seen from a distance, so if the path you follow with the car takes you directly to the fire, it is best to turn around as soon as possible and look for an alternative route. Also, in the proximity of fire, it is best to:
- Do not drive to high mountain areas, since fire tends to spread towards that location.
- Do not ride downwind, since the fire will always spread in that direction.
- That you turn on the headlights and hazard lights right away. Smoke reduces visibility considerably, so the vehicle’s lighting will help you to be seen by other drivers who will also understand the alert about imminent danger. If the smoke is heavy but the fire is far away, you should drive as you would in fog.
- That you call 112 quickly to alert the emergency services.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO BEFORE A FIRE
- First of all, it is very important that you stay calm and analyse the situation.
- Never go through an area with flames or very dense smoke.
- Never leave the vehicle to flee on foot, since if it is possible to circulate, it is much safer than abandoning the car. Keep in mind that despite popular belief, a car’s fuel tank lasts much longer than the human body in the heat of a fire. It is very important that inside the car, the windows are properly closed and the ventilation system switched off to prevent smoke from entering the passenger compartment.
- Slow down, wait for the smoke to clear, and find a safe place to stop and turn off the vehicle. It is best to do it in an area where there is no longer a risk of new outbreaks, such as, for example, in areas without vegetation. It is also a good option to stop in areas that have already burned, although you must be careful because the residual temperature can be high.
- In case of having to abandon the car due to road blockage and proximity of flames or because the civil guard, firefighters or forest agents so order, you must cover your airways with a handkerchief and escape in the opposite direction to the wind.
- If you have blankets or other cotton or wool garments, it is recommended that you cover your body to prevent injuries from the heat radiation of the fire itself. On the other hand, you should avoid any synthetic fabric or backpacks made of said material, since their ease of burning can cause serious burns.
- Always obey the instructions of the security forces.