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PLEASE bring a fire extinguisher - From a Texan

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#1 DeudeMann

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 10:30 AM

First of all, for those coming to Texas for the 2023 annular and the 2024 total, welcome to our state. I hope there are clear skies for everyone. 

A VERY common source of wildfires is cars pulling off the side of the road into dry grass, which is then set on fire by the car's hot catalytic converter. You may know better than to do this, but a lot of people do not. As you can imagine there are going to be a lot of cars pulling off roads into the grass during the 2023 and 2024 events. 

Texas, especially the central part of the state, is under record drought conditions. For example, two of the local area reservoirs (lakes) near San Antonio (Medina Lake and Canyon Lake) are at all-time record lows. As a result of the drought, there is a LOT of dry fuel on the ground ready to go off. The Hill Country area is covered with juniper bushes/trees (a.k.a. mountain cedars) that burn like flamethrowers when they ignite. If you have ever seen a dry Christmas tree burn, it's like that. Grazing lands on the many Texas ranches are the same way. 

Both zones of totality (annular and total) go right through the center of these areas of abundant, dry fuel. That's where everyone will be of course. Ugh. 

A grass fire, especially with a little wind, spreads VERY quickly, like walking speed if not running speed. If you want to see examples of this, google the Bastrop, Texas fire of  2011. Here is the wiki.,,
https://en.wikipedia...ty_Complex_Fire

The only way to fight it, other than not starting it in the first place, is to put it out immediately. Your best chance of doing this is with a fire extinguisher you can get to fast. Please bring one with you if you can. 

Hopefully we will get a lot of rain by April 2024, but, short of a direct hit from a major hurricane, conditions will almost certainly remain very dry for the October 2023 annular. 

Please, enjoy your eclipse, but PLEASE, be safe. I am not an alarmist guy, but I want as many people as possible to know of the risk, and how bad things can get really fast if a fire starts. 

Thanks

 


Edited by DeudeMann, 28 September 2023 - 11:13 AM.

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#2 DeudeMann

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 10:35 AM

Here is a map of the Texas drought regions. It should update itself over time. As of the time of this post (the end of September 2023) almost all of Texas is under drought conditions, and a huge area of it is under D4 conditions (exceptional, in other words the worst).
https://droughtmonit...monitor.aspx?TX

Here is a map from the Texas A&M Forest Service that will show the fire risk for a specific area of the state. The map is toward the bottom of the page. 
https://texaswildfirerisk.com/

Here's a clip of a grass fire that consumed a bunch of cars in a field at a Texas festival. Notice how short the grass is; it does not take much. 
https://www.youtube....rts/35J8Adna-sI
 


Edited by DeudeMann, 28 September 2023 - 10:47 AM.


#3 SkipW

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 10:48 AM

Important info. Thank you.

 

And, yes, I do carry a fire extinguisher in my car.


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#4 DeudeMann

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 11:48 AM

One would not normally think of Texas as a big wildfire state, but it can be, in a big way, when conditions are bad. 


Edited by DeudeMann, 28 September 2023 - 11:48 AM.


#5 jrussell

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Posted 28 September 2023 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for posting that. Hopefully people will heed the warning.


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#6 Bob W4

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Posted 29 September 2023 - 07:39 PM

Fantastic post!!!  I'm adding "fire extinguisher" to my equipment list.  I would like to add to pack the fire extinguisher where it can be easily and quickly accessed in an emergency.


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#7 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 05:10 PM

First of all, for those coming to Texas for the 2023 annular and the 2024 total, welcome to our state. I hope there are clear skies for everyone. 

A VERY common source of wildfires is cars pulling off the side of the road into dry grass, which is then set on fire by the car's hot catalytic converter. You may know better than to do this, but a lot of people do not. As you can imagine there are going to be a lot of cars pulling off roads into the grass during the 2023 and 2024 events. 

Texas, especially the central part of the state, is under record drought conditions. For example, two of the local area reservoirs (lakes) near San Antonio (Medina Lake and Canyon Lake) are at all-time record lows. As a result of the drought, there is a LOT of dry fuel on the ground ready to go off. The Hill Country area is covered with juniper bushes/trees (a.k.a. mountain cedars) that burn like flamethrowers when they ignite. If you have ever seen a dry Christmas tree burn, it's like that. Grazing lands on the many Texas ranches are the same way. 

Both zones of totality (annular and total) go right through the center of these areas of abundant, dry fuel. That's where everyone will be of course. Ugh. 

A grass fire, especially with a little wind, spreads VERY quickly, like walking speed if not running speed. If you want to see examples of this, google the Bastrop, Texas fire of  2011. Here is the wiki.,,
https://en.wikipedia...ty_Complex_Fire

The only way to fight it, other than not starting it in the first place, is to put it out immediately. Your best chance of doing this is with a fire extinguisher you can get to fast. Please bring one with you if you can. 

Hopefully we will get a lot of rain by April 2024, but, short of a direct hit from a major hurricane, conditions will almost certainly remain very dry for the October 2023 annular. 

Please, enjoy your eclipse, but PLEASE, be safe. I am not an alarmist guy, but I want as many people as possible to know of the risk, and how bad things can get really fast if a fire starts. 

Thanks

 

I considered getting a fire extuinguisher for the car but I read online that it is NOT SAFE to keep a fire extuinguisher inside a car.

 

I am planning to bring 15 gallons of water though in case I end up stranded in the desert or anything like that so that might help.



#8 DeudeMann

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 06:29 PM

I considered getting a fire extuinguisher for the car but I read online that it is NOT SAFE to keep a fire extuinguisher inside a car.

 

I am planning to bring 15 gallons of water though in case I end up stranded in the desert or anything like that so that might help.

A fire extinguisher not being safe in a car, that is a new one for me. I used to race cars and we were required to have one in our car! Boats are another place where they are required, at least in Texas. 

Of course the extinguisher needs to be properly constrained in a bracket or in secure storage. You don't want a fire extinguisher bouncing around in a car in the middle of an accident. 


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#9 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 04 October 2023 - 06:31 PM

A fire extinguisher not being safe in a car, that is a new one for me. I used to race cars and we were required to have one in our car! Boats are another place where they are required, at least in Texas. 

Of course the extinguisher needs to be properly constrained in a bracket or in secure storage. You don't want a fire extinguisher bouncing around in a car in the middle of an accident. 

Can you provide a hyperlink to a type of fire extinguisher that is safe to keep stored inside a very hot (over 100 Fahrenheit) or very cold (less than 0 Fahrenheit) vehicle?


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 04 October 2023 - 06:32 PM.


#10 SkipW

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Posted 05 October 2023 - 08:14 PM

Can you provide a hyperlink to a type of fire extinguisher that is safe to keep stored inside a very hot (over 100 Fahrenheit) or very cold (less than 0 Fahrenheit) vehicle?

https://www.kidde.co...rees Fahrenheit.


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#11 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 06 October 2023 - 12:52 AM

I already have a Kidde kitchen fire extinguisher.  It is probably the same as this one:

 

https://www.kidde.co...for-home/ressp/

 

Is that safe to keep inside a hot car which may exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit?

 

According to GoodCalculators, if the outside temperature is 100 F, after 60 minutes, the temperature inside the car will be 143 F.  One hopes it will not be that hot in October but if getting a separate fire extinguisher to leave in the car year-round it could get that hot.  Cumberland is the hottest city in the entire State of Maryland, with a record high of 105 F.

 

https://www.goodcalc...ure-calculator/

 

I see that Kidde manufactures an "automobile/marine" fire extinguisher but it is more expensive:

 

https://www.shopkidd...e-extinguisher/

 

I will probably have to follow up with Kidde about the safety specifications for automobile use, but not sure where to buy this.  I don't think they sell it at Walmart.

 

For now, I am hoping that 10 gallons of water in the car will be sufficient...  I will also have blankets but not sure if that will smother out a fire or just make it worse.

 

I think sand or salt can also be used to put out fires.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 06 October 2023 - 12:53 AM.


#12 SkipW

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Posted 06 October 2023 - 12:49 PM

I see that Kidde manufactures an "automobile/marine" fire extinguisher but it is more expensive:

 

https://www.shopkidd...e-extinguisher/

 

I will probably have to follow up with Kidde about the safety specifications for automobile use, but not sure where to buy this.  I don't think they sell it at Walmart.

 

For now, I am hoping that 10 gallons of water in the car will be sufficient...  I will also have blankets but not sure if that will smother out a fire or just make it worse.

 

I think sand or salt can also be used to put out fires.

I've carried a fire extinguisher in my cars for decades while living in Oklahoma (it gets hot here!), including leaving it in a car parked for a week in El Paso in full sun one July, when daytime temperatures reached at least 110° several of those days. Nary a problem. I have used one once on the car next to me, and was glad I had it.

 

Most auto parts stores have a good selection of fire extinguishers intended for use in cars and trucks.

 

The concern of the OP was a hot catalytic converter starting a fire under the car. I would think a fire extinguisher would be much better dealing with that than sand or a blanket. Don't mess around; get a real fire extinguisher. Take it out of the car during the hot part of the summer if it really worries you.


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#13 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 09:05 PM

Kidde marine/auto fire extinguishers are available in-store at the local Walmart:

 

https://www.walmart....Rated/936046033

 

I got one to keep in the trunk so all set.  If you don't have one already, you should be able to pick it up at any Walmart on the way to Texas next week for the Annular Solar Eclipse on October 14.  Try calling ahead on a hands-free Bluetooth to make sure it is in stock.

 

If you end up not needing it in Aridoamerica, you should be able to return it when you get back if it is unopened and unused.  But probably better to keep it around just in case.

 

There is a cheaper one available at Dunham's discount sports store but it is not rated for storage below freezing.


Edited by Nicole Sharp, 07 October 2023 - 09:15 PM.


#14 Nicole Sharp

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Posted 07 October 2023 - 09:13 PM

The question is if you put out the fire yourself, do you still need to call the local authorities to report the accident?  The fire extinguisher would likely leave a mess.





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