Texans have lost their lives during past wildfire seasons because wildfire overtook them in their vehicles. The following safety tips can save your life.
Never drive into dense smoke. You could become a fire fatality.
High winds may cause wildfires to spread rapidly and jump across natural barriers such as roads and even waterways. Strong winds can force smoke to stay low to the ground, obscuring roadways and traffic signs. Texas wildfires have been propelled by wind gusts as high as 60 mph.
When wildfires threaten, pay attention to TV and radio broadcasts BEFORE you travel. Be aware of fire and weather conditions along your route. Avoid traveling into areas where wildfire activity has been reported. As you travel, monitor local radio and TV news broadcasts – and watch for highway signs providing information on fire danger.
Watch for traffic control personnel, fire fighters and law enforcement officers. Slow down and be prepared to stop if they signal you to do so.
When you prepare to turn around because you have encountered dense smoke, slow down and activate your emergency flashers. Make sure you warn vehicles behind you that you are decreasing your speed or preparing to stop. Turn around when you have checked for oncoming traffic and can turn safely.
For more information on fire danger and advisories, see the Texas Forest Service website at http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu.