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Fire Season and riding.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' started by Jandrew, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. (I posted this on another forum, put it here as i think it is pretty relevant to anyone riding this summer)

    Yo all,

    It is fire season again... Although unlike last year this year looks to actually be a real fire season, unless the weekly downpour sticks around.

    This is a time for people riding up the Old road and Putty, well almost anywhere there is bush, to be aware of the fact there is a good chance there can be fire, take into account how hot and dry it is, when we rode up yesterday i noticed it was good fire weather. Do not put your smokes into the bush/grass, use a bin or the tar and make sure they are out!
    If there is a road block, police, RTA or fire service (RFS or NSWF8) or SES take it seriously and do not try to continue.

    If you happen to get caught in a fire up there, be smart. It is probably not a safe idea to try and ride though it, this could end up with a burnt bike and rider! The best/safest option would be find somewhere open and clear of leafs/crap/branches anything that will burn and stay put until it has passed (like the middle of the road, or the side of the road against a rock wall), normally it would take less than 5 mins for a fire front to pass, if you have cotton clothing it is better. Stay low and if possible lie in a ditch with something over you (not always possible). I would recommend if you do end up stuck to move AWAY from your bike, leave it somewhere safe, but not on top of you as it is full of fuel which could explode.

    It is a good idea to open your fuel tank cap as well, just unlock it so it can be opened, but not open (you know, when you can lift it, nothing holding it down) so if the tank heats up (it will) the top can just open to let hot air out and thus decreasing the chance of it going BOOM... We do this to our trucks if we are caught in a flash over situation... If you leave the tank cap sitting on the top then nothing can fall in, like an ember...

    Also if riding though smoke, apart from the fact you will not be able to breathe, the bike will not either.. most of those stories you hear of people dying in their car while fleeing the fire die because the car stops due to too much smoke and not enough O2 for the engine to keep running, then well i do not need to go into the details.. Try to avoid riding through thick heavy smoke. I have been in a situation where i could not get away from the smoke due to where we were located (and everyone else), I ended up lying on the ground on the other side of the road trying to get out of the smoke until it passed.. It really does take the O2 out of the air, it is not nice at all, it is actually bloody scary.

    As for clothing, cotton is the best stuff to be wearing if caught, this information will not help you at all once you at in a situation when you need it. It may sound silly but stuff like cotton underwear is a good idea if riding in areas with high risk... as someone put it to me, imagine a sausage wrapped in bacon.... with silk/satin boxers. Most bike gear i have seen is pretty tough and should stand up ok for a little bit in a fire situation (ie not direct contact with flames) but anything synthetic will be gone and i am not sure about helmets!

    Most of all don't try to be a hero! I know we all do not think straight in the times we need to and adrenalin kicks in, but this can lead to a fatal mistake. I have had times where i have thought to myself "why the f**k am i running into this!?" with all the protective gear we have on its still hot and we can still get burnt!

    Anyway i hope nothing like that happens, but i guess i know to much now to not share it with you all. I have access to an RFS site which tells RFS members where most fires are located throughout NSW, also how big they are and what category they are, here is the link to the public version http://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/dsp_content.cfm?CAT_ID=683

    Seeing as i had a spiel i should say i am a volunteer fire fighter in the Warringah/Pitwater district. I'm sure there are other people on here who are part of the RFS as well. This post is not meant to scare anyone or deter you from riding, just to give you some idea of the "what ifs" and a little bit of education and safety around fires. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions, or post them up, i shall try to answer them, or seek the answers from someone more knowledgeable . If you are a member of another brigade post up if you like too :)

    Also this is a guide and what i would do if i was caught in a fire on my bike, or car!

    Cheers and stay safe. If i think of more i will just update this post. Will not add more.
  2. Excellent post.

    I'm a volunteer (just over 4 years now) with the Anglesea Fire Brigade, and i can add some info for people traveling down the GOR.

    When (not if, when) the otways burn, they will burn like crazy. We tested the bush out the back of Aireys Inlet and Anglesea, and its moisture content is 7%. That, combined with the sheer thickness of the scrub running through the otways atm means the conditions are WORSE than they were on ash wednesday.

    That being said, if your on the GOR, and there is a bushfire, the best thing to do is head straight to the beach. The radiant heat can reach the beach, but usually (depending on the specific location on the GOR) the fire front won't. That being said, it will be horrible there. Chances are a few thousand other people will be there too. Soot, ash and smoke will be filling the air and make it hard to breathe, so make sure you cover your mouth with anything you can should you be in this situation.

    Chances are if there is a bush fire the police will close the roads, so i'm not sure if you will be able to go back the way you came.

    If you are traveling in your car, and your caught in a bushfire, stay in your car for God's sake. You can't outrun radiant heat, and next to smoke inhination, its one of the biggest killers. So, stay in the car, close all the windows, leave the car unlocked, and get as low as you can. Lay on the floor or crouch as low as you possibly can. Cover yourself with blankets or anything you have (wool/cotton is best).

    Upon entering Anglesea, on the right hand side of the road as you pass the police station and fire station is the day's fire danger rating. Its good to take note of this when your traveling down.

    See this link here http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/incidents/incident_summary.htm It shows all the current fires and their situation in Victoria (much like the link above)

    Have a safe summer everyone! Oh, and on a side note, fire restrictions are now in force down here until may 2009, so if you see smoke call 000 straight away.

  3. All good stuff but im not sure about this bit though, Tis true for Diesel fuel tanks but petrol tanks on bikes left open means fumes escape more easily especially if its hot and fumes and spark / embers mean BOOM when it comes to petrol.

    If your on a bike and its getting hot enough to melt fuel lines or boil the fuel in the tank you have far more serious problems to worry about short term ........ like your IN the fire, not near it :?

    But as I said good reminder at this time of year :) We have already had several major outbreaks up around here !
  4. Being stuck or trapped in a car has to be a nightmare scenario. Here's hoping that no dickheads make things worse with deliberately lit fires this year.

    And it never ceases to amaze me that the CFA and other volunteers risk their own lives (and livelihood) for the protection of others. Maybe is less surprising in smaller towns and country where the sense of community is stronger, but here in Lilydale we are served by the CFA.
  5. Trail bike riders hot exhaust can cause fires. be careful and re-assemble your mufflers (put the spark trap back in) for fire weather.

    Back when i was in the CFA we had a few bikes and old bombs (paddock bashers) start fires in long grass.

    I also experienced the fires around Beechworth (my home town) a few years ago, trucks came from all over Aus to help fight the fires that were threatening to wipe the town off the map, Yackandah was almost wiped out too, my friends house was on fire 3 times, the entire dam was emptied wetting the roof down so the embers would die down as soon as they hit it.
  6. i hope this is jsut a broad comment and not what you do if you smoke.
    feel free to use the tar (im assuming u mean the road) to put out your ciggy, but dont just leave it there.
    i dont what the leftovers of someone else's disgusting habit dumped into the environment, dirtying the roads i ride.
    take it home with you, or carry it until you find a bin.
  7. Just a broad comment, i do not smoke, the tar comment is meant for the road yes.
    You do raise a good point though, they should not be left anywhere apart from a bin. To be honest i did not type it with the environment in mind and from what i have seen some people (smokers or not) do not care about it at all :(
  8. Yeah i am not 100% sure on that myself. With our training we are to open all our fuel containers (and get them away from us) if caught in the fire, this includes our ULP jerry can on the truck. But ULP does light up of fumes much easier than diesel.

    I will see if i can get a better answer for this and post it up, I am under the impression (from training) that if it is open then the chances of it exploding are reduced as it can just burn, as you point out though you would be pretty much on the fire, or very close to have the tank heat up enough to go BOOM :)
  9. all good :)
  10. Aren't volunteer firefighters the worst fire-bugs?
  11. YEP as seen on 60 minutes the other week :LOL:
  12. Well, fumes + sparks = a small fire contained to the filler neck of your car or motorcycle while the evaporated fuel vapor burns.

    Liquid petrol itself doesn't burn or explode; it's well above the upper explosive limit in that state.
  13. Oh rly? Where do I sign up? :grin:
  14. I have a theory on smokers and their habits, based on my own experiences having been a smoker for 35 years or so. (Not any more though, stopped smoking at 1PM, March 15, 2003.)

    Smokers don't care about the damage they are doing to themselves, so why would they care about the environment?
  15. Would say your smack on the money there.. Most anyways, i do know some smokers who make an effort to put their buts away, they are fellow members of my brigade.. But there are others who don't.

    I remember a few years back the police were able to fine drivers for throwing buts out the window in fire season.. Should be brought back in again :)
  16. Fire Information in Victoria

    That is a great resource however a more complete and state wide summary, along with information about road closures and the like can be found on the DSE website http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/DSE/nrenf...57257000A5163DC25C965BDA0CAF5CA2573B400013504

    Also a very good resource in victoria is the ABC radio station 774 AM. They are the state disaster broadcaster and during fire season maintain a constant update of fire and evacuation situations.
  17. Hey there.

    Been in the rfs 6 years and I've never been told to open fuel containers in a flashover.

    Throw them downwind of the truck by all means but opening a container of fuel with a wall of fire coming at you is not the best move you could make.

    Good post otherwise though. Kentlyn volunteer here.
  18. AFAIK throwing a cigarette butt out the window at any time of year is littering, so the police can fine you as such. Of course you can't create a camera to automatically do that.
  19. It's interesting that we have been taught two different ways. By open i mean just open the lid, leave it on though. Same with the diesel tank on the truck..... Maybe people should use both bits of advise how they see fit.

    As pointed out in some training though, one does not really have time to do that in a flash over.