Article Written by:
Glenn Nader, University of California Cooperative Extension, Yuba City, CA
What It Is Like to Be In a Wildfire
What it is like to be in a wildfire depends on the wind speed and the fuel in the area of the home. Embers will come first, followed by the fire front that can create intense heat, smoke, and noise. The darkness and roar of the fire can be great and extremely scary. Common descriptions are of a freight train coming straight for the house and a sky so dark it is like midnight. Inside the house as the fire front passes, the heat and smoke can be uncomfortable. However, temperatures outside the home can be as much as four times hotter than inside. In most fires, this intense period should be less than 10 minutes. This will be followed by an extended (many hours) period after the fire front passes where embers continue falling and burned wood smolders.