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Fire is both a friend and an enemy in the bush. There is little better on a cold desert night than a blazing campfire to keep the chills away; but there is little worse than a runaway bushfire.


If you happen to get trapped in a bushfire, stay with your vehicle. Stop the car in a clear area and close all windows and vents. If you have an air conditioner keep the engine running and the air conditioner on full. This will help to increase air pressure in the car and stop most of the smoke from finding a way in. Switch on your lights and emergency flashers if you have them as this will help others who may be in the area (such as fire fighters) locate you, or avoid crashing into you as they move through the smoke.


Get as low down as you can and cover all exposed skin with clothes or a blanket. If you have spare water you should wet the blanket first.


The worst of the fire will generally pass over you in about 10 minutes. Once it is past you can exit the vehicle and you should immediately drink some water.


If your vehicle is a convertible, or has a canvas roof you must get under the car NOT INSIDE, and cover yourself as above.


Movie makers love to show cars exploding in balls of flame at the slightest suggestion of a fire. This is a load of hyped up rubbish. Petrol tanks in vehicles are constructed to withstand all but the most extreme fires.


Remember to watch for fire restriction signs, these are not put there to annoy you. Fire bans are also announced on radio and television in the long hot summer months, so watch and listen for them. Make campfires small, and place them in concrete BBQ surrounds where they are available.


If you manage to lose or forget your matches, there are ways of starting a fire that do not involve the tiresome effort of rubbing two sticks together.


If you have a vehicle you can use your jumper leads to get a fire going. Collect some tinder and paper and add a SMALL amount of petrol. Strike the jumper leads together close by and the fire should start easily. DO NOT USE TOO MUCH PETROL.


Gunpowder can be used as an alternative to petrol if you are carrying firearms.


A magnifying glass or magnesium block and flint, are both good fire starters. You can also try mixing small quantities of Condy's Crystals and sugar in a 9:1 ratio; or powdered chlorine and brake fluid. Be aware that the results of mixing chemicals can be very unpredictable, stand well back and never mix in a closed container.


Emergency Numbers


First Aid




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