Driving Through Fire / Vehicle Mods for Fire Resistance

jaymar

SILVER Star
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
1,946
Location
SoCal
Website
makeyourbookamovie.com
It really depends on whether you're talking about driving along a road that's had a fire front already cross it, or if you're talking about driving through a fire front itself. The former is possible. The latter is almost certain death. I've driven roads where the trees are all alight around me, embers are flying everywhere, and it's lit up in a hazy red glow all around you. It's scary as s***, but a lot of the danger by that point has passed. When a fire front sweeps through and the dry, easily computable stuff basically explodes around you through, it's pretty much as close to the fires of hell as you'll get. It's hard to find videos of firefronts hitting, because people and/or recording equipment doesn't tend to survive, but check this out:



Basically, you're screwed.

Hard to tell from YT videos whether fire front has passed, or everything around them is burning because embers came down in that area. But, yeah, see what you mean. Haven't seen video like that one, for obvious reasons. Seems like the outdoor equivalent of flashover.
 
Last edited:

jaymar

SILVER Star
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
1,946
Location
SoCal
Website
makeyourbookamovie.com
When in a house fire, we have a real hard time getting chainsaws to run due to the lack of oxygen, and quickly clogged up air filters. But mainly lack of Oxygen. Of course, those are gasoline engines. I would think our gasoline consuming cruisers could have a real hard time too if you drove through extra dense smoke that had the Oxygen already consumed out of it by the fire. Most all fire trucks are diesel, and I think that is the real difference. Diesels can keep running in much more "diverse" conditions compared to gasoline. I think this is one of those situations that once find out you pushed it too far, you are REALLY screwed!
House fire--you mean indoors, enclosed space?
 

mudgudgeon

SILVER Star
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
5,596
Location
Across the pond, and upside down
Yeah, well, if nothing else the glass will screw you on the heat. I was thinking more of shielding fluid hoses, possibly some kind of on-the-fly snorkel air filter swap or removal (assuming the thing doesn't just melt; then again, some are metal). I mean, if we really want to get wild, foil window covers, windshield too, and drive by radar. :)

Technically, aircraft radar has crap resolution for ground-level driving, and LiDAR uses infrared, which will be crap in a fire. But there's gotta be SOMETHING that would work (assuming it can take the heat), like that or in goggle form (if looking out through the windshield). Would be useful in less extreme circumstances as well; driving through smoke.

What's the best strategy?
1. Stop in a fire situation and fit your snorkel cover, shield hoses, and foil screens to glass? Or
2. Get the fùck out of Dodge?

Time spent with covers, shields etc is time you aren't likely to have if you're in a situation that warrants them.

I'm with Nemesis. I've witnessed catastrophic building fire, rapidly spreading grass fires, and driven through burnt bush areas shortly after a fire front had passed, and cleared burning tress from roads.
Heat is absolutely staggering in all of these scraps
 

mudgudgeon

SILVER Star
Joined
Dec 17, 2007
Messages
5,596
Location
Across the pond, and upside down
Hard to tell from YT videos whether fire front has passed, or everything around them is burning because embers came down in that area. But, yeah, see what you mean. Haven't seen video like that one, for obvious reasons. Seems like the outdoor equivalent of flashover.

Recent Australian wildfires, eucalypt forest tree canopies were spontaneously erupting into flame kilometres ahead of the fire front, simply due to the intensity of the heat from the fire and the intensity of wind driving the fire.
Fires were creating their own weather cells.



This one, the fire front overtook them. There's footage of the damage to that truck if you search for it.

 
Joined
Dec 24, 2019
Messages
552
Location
Sydney, Australia
Yep, here it is:
4bc794dda9bbea5e267e16aca4e94721.jpeg.jpg


Pulled from this article:
The people survived, the truck did not. Did what it needed to for the minute or two to keep them alive though. It's worth noting that these were trained fire-fighters in full protective gear, and they're still lucky to have got out of that situation. For you and me, it'd be a different story.

While looking for that article, I came across this, which is directly relevant to the original question posted here:
It discusses some of the steps taken to make fire trucks in Australia more resistant to burnovers. As the picture above shows though, that only goes so far.
 

jaymar

SILVER Star
Joined
May 12, 2015
Messages
1,946
Location
SoCal
Website
makeyourbookamovie.com
What's the best strategy?
1. Stop in a fire situation and fit your snorkel cover, shield hoses, and foil screens to glass? Or
2. Get the fùck out of Dodge?

Time spent with covers, shields etc is time you aren't likely to have if you're in a situation that warrants them.

I'm with Nemesis. I've witnessed catastrophic building fire, rapidly spreading grass fires, and driven through burnt bush areas shortly after a fire front had passed, and cleared burning tress from roads.
Heat is absolutely staggering in all of these scraps
Never said stop for anything. :steer:
 
Last edited:

GoPats

SILVER Star
Joined
Oct 21, 2017
Messages
170
Location
Eagle, ID
With 33 years wildland experience (including 5 weeks in Australia in 2019/2020 as part of the first wave of Americans to help), there aren't a lot of things we do to mod our vehicles. Aussies use fire curtains in rigs for radiant heat, but in US we don't. If you really want to protect (aka spend lots of $ for such small chance of occurrence) your rig, get a 100 gal tank for water, a pump, put sweeps around outside, get fire curtains ... but with that extra 1000 lbs, better get even lower gears. As others have said: defensible space (30 feet around buildings); evacuate unless you have protection equipment/skills (water source, hoses, pump, roof sprinklers etc); don't stop (many who died on roads stopped and clogged the roads so no one could get out); support your local aid agencies.
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom