Wind-Whipped Fires Can Be Unpredictable, Even For Experts

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Wildland firefighters admit that they work in an unpredictable world where wind-whipped flames can engulf them at any moment.

“I think a lot of times unpredictable weather causes a lot of problematic fire behavior that firefighters don't like to deal with,” says Aaron Kloss, a Fire Prevention Specialist with the Division of Forestry.

Kloss has been deployed to fight wildfires across the country.

On Monday, he demonstrated how a fire shelter works. It is like the one used by the 19 firefighters who died in Arizona.

“If you exit that shelter, you're not going stand a chance. But if you stay in there, it might be scary and it might be painful, but you're going to have a lot better chance of making it through,” says Kloss.

The fire shelters are not fire proof, but fire resistant and layered with Kevlar.

He says they are only to be used as a last resort.

Once inside the shelter, firefighters are trained to cover their bodies inside the protective cloth, pin the ends down to prevent gasses from leaking in, and lay on the ground until they are given the all-clear.

Like many trained firefighters across country many are wondering how an elite group of firefighters, like those in Arizona, could have perished using equipment that was supposed to save their lives.

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