This MAY have happened because you left too late, it MAY have happened because you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it MAY have happened because you weren’t aware of your surroundings. DO NOT whatever you do enter an area that is under threat of fire in any circumstances, this could result in death, even if this means not saving your dog, horse or cattle. By the time you have got to them, if you can get to them – it may very well be too late.
This is the truth – but if you are going into a bushfire prone area (anything with the word bush in it, would indicate that) you must take with you – Woolen blankets, sturdy gloves, sturdy shoes, water (and plenty of it) These are the bare minimum. I carry these with me all the time – they are handy not just for bushfires but for road accidents, spills, there are many many uses.
If you are caught in the unfortunate position of being in the car whilst an active fire is approaching DO NOT LEAVE the vehicle. Remain in the vehicle. IF you are able to see (which often you can’t) a building preferably made of brick; approach that building IN THE CAR. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR VEHICLE. Once you can positively determine you can access the building ONLY THEN, exit the vehicle. BUT ONLY IF YOU CAN 110% confirm access to the building with no time to spare.
If you cannot see a building, move to the side of the road, preferably with the front of the car facing the oncoming fire, somewhere clear of leaf litter and overhanging trees IF POSSIBLE. Somewhere like an oval, a car park, a paddock. Turn your headlights on, turn your hazard lights on. Turn the engine OFF, which is recommended by fire authorities. Wind up the windows and try and seal the vents as best you can, to prevent smoke entering the vehicle and hopefully stop the air being sucked out.. Make sure you can access the water, gloves, and woollen blanket, this is now what might just save your life.
Radiant heat is what kills a majority of people, before the flames even reach you. AT NO STAGE leave the vehicle, even if the plastic starts melting. Remember anything metal and plastic inside the vehicle will be RED-HOT and possibly melting. Grab the blanket, hopefully one for each occupant (Dreaming I know) Wrap it as tight as possible, covering fingers, ears, hands and feet. Get as low in the vehicle as possible, this will negate some of the radiant but not very much. DO NOT LEAVE THE VEHICLE AT ANY STAGE. YOU WILL DIE.
Once the front has passed – the ground will be black, and the active flame will have passed, objects will still be burning, but you will be stepping out onto blackened ground. REMEMBER EVERYTHING WILL BE HOT. PLASTIC WILL BE MELTED. The door could very well be melted in place, so be very careful. Exit the vehicle with EXTREME caution or you will be burned by hot metal OR molten plastic from the car trimmings.
DO NOT leave the area of your vehicle, the closer you stay the sooner you will be found. Remove from the vehicle anything you require, water, phones, food, anything that can be of any use. REMEMBER HOT, You have survived this far, do not be stupid. Sometimes the car tyres will be on fire. DO NOT WASTE YOUR water. Leave it burn. The car will be written off anyway because of the melting.
DO NOT LEAVE THE AREA OF THE VEHICLE. You will be found.
The area will still be extremely hot, keep the blanket around you, sip water and wait. DO NOT LEAVE THE AREA.
Please keep in mind that people perished because they left too late and when they went to access the vehicle, they were unable to do so, because the handles were too hot, OR the door had already melted shut. This is the sad truth. I saw cars keys in the ignition, with the trim melted, hub caps, but the tyres were still intact and I know that people died - Those cars were their last chance to get out and it was too late.
Pay attention to your surroundings, pay attention the weather, if you don’t think you can protect your property, both mentally and physically GET OUT and GET OUT EARLY. Do as the fire services recommend AND GET OUT.
Do not place your family in the position of danger or not knowing. It is not worth it.