10 tips for truckers who face wildfires

As wildfires continue to burn from Alberta to Quebec and Nova Scotia, a Quebec-based resource is offering several tips to truckers who may find themselves in high-risk areas – particularly as intense smoke travels in their direction.

Here are 10 tips from the Societe de protection des forets contre le feu, which also offers a mobile app to identify fires within 50 km of a truck’s location in Quebec:

truck in wildfire
(Photo: istock)
  1. Respect any roadblocks that will be established as fires approach a road.
  2. Close windows tightly when traveling in smoky areas.
  3. Turn the truck’s air conditioner to a “recirculation” mode, helping to keep heat out of the cab.
  4. Turn on the vehicle’s full lighting package to remain visible.
  5. Slow down if smoke impairs visibility.
  6. Leave the engine running so you can move at any time. If the engine is shut down, smoke may block the air filter and make the vehicle difficult to restart.
  7. Stay in your vehicle, and if possible, in an open area.
  8. Consider the wind direction and move the truck away from the most active area of the fire if possible. It’s better to choose a location where the fire has recently burned, since most of the available fuel has already been consumed.
  9. Consider the positions of roads, lakes, streams, or stands of deciduous trees that can act as natural firebreaks, and position your truck accordingly.
  10. If the flames are approaching, keep as low as possible in the cab to protect yourself from radiant heat and the threat of shattering windows. And if you need to shield your body, opt for an aluminum-style blanket that can be found in emergency kits. Wool blankets are also better choices than other fabrics because synthetics are more flammable.

After the fire passes, take the opportunity to inspect the truck as soon as it’s parked in a safe place.

Smoke and ash may have blocked the air filter, which can affect engine performance and fuel economy alike. Tires may also have been damaged by the intense heat, so be on the lookout for cracks on the sidewalls.

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