How wildfire shelters work - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

How wildfire shelters work

(Source: CBS 5 News) (Source: CBS 5 News)
APACHE JUNCTION, AZ (CBS5) -

When firefighters suit up to take on wildfires around the nation, there is one item they don't leave behind: It's called a fire shelter. Although it's rarely used, these safety devices are made to save lives.

"We have them as a last resort," Apache Junction Firefighter Eric Ellsworth said.

A fire shelter is designed to be a lightweight shield against radiant heat but they can only be used once. In Yarnell, the 19 firefighters who lost their lives were all found with their fire shelters deployed but the precautionary device did not save their lives.

"A lot of questions right now," Ellsworth said. "We know these are highly trained individuals, it's just a tragedy for all of us."

Firefighters train with these fire shelters every year but in a real scenario, they usually have less than 15 seconds to get under the shelter's protective aluminum shield. According to Anchor Manufacturing, one of the companies that produce these fire shelters, the shelters can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees before the material begins breaking down. However, the aluminum shells were not made to withstand direct flames for much longer than a few seconds to a few minutes.

"By no means is it comfortable [inside a fire shelter]," Ellsworth said.

About 10,000 fire shelters are produced by two major companies every year and the designs are highly regulated by the United States Forest Service, which will play a major role in the investigation as to what went wrong in Yarnell.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

  • More Local NewsNewsMore>>

  • Local fraternity helping SWLA families have a good Christmas dinner

    Local fraternity helping SWLA families have a good Christmas dinner

    Sunday, December 17 2017 9:39 AM EST2017-12-17 14:39:29 GMT
    (Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

    One local fraternity made sure some families in Southwest Louisiana had a fully cooked meal to enjoy for Christmas. "We have turkeys and hams, but it's enough food in the box to feed a family of eight," said  Mark Gallashaw, president of Kappa Alpha Psi's Lake Charles Alumni Chapter. Thirty-five boxes of cooked meals are getting ready to be delivered to families across Southwest Louisiana. 

    More >>

    One local fraternity made sure some families in Southwest Louisiana had a fully cooked meal to enjoy for Christmas. "We have turkeys and hams, but it's enough food in the box to feed a family of eight," said  Mark Gallashaw, president of Kappa Alpha Psi's Lake Charles Alumni Chapter. Thirty-five boxes of cooked meals are getting ready to be delivered to families across Southwest Louisiana. 

    More >>
  • Washington-Marion's 100 community leaders for 100 scholars

    Washington-Marion's 100 community leaders for 100 scholars

    Sunday, December 17 2017 9:36 AM EST2017-12-17 14:36:24 GMT

    Saturday was a nostalgic moment for many at Washington-Marion High School. The event, 100 for 100, pairs 100 community leaders with 100 student scholars at Washington-Marion, all part of an effort to bring awareness to academic progression in the school's learning environment. 

    More >>

    Saturday was a nostalgic moment for many at Washington-Marion High School. The event, 100 for 100, pairs 100 community leaders with 100 student scholars at Washington-Marion, all part of an effort to bring awareness to academic progression in the school's learning environment. 

    More >>
  • LCPD: Suspect arrested after vehicle pursuit in Lake Charles

    LCPD: Suspect arrested after vehicle pursuit in Lake Charles

    Saturday, December 16 2017 5:12 PM EST2017-12-16 22:12:28 GMT
    (Source: Raycom)(Source: Raycom)

    The Lake Charles Police Department has arrested one person after a nearly 20-minute pursuit Saturday afternoon. LCPD received a call of a person shooting a firearm from a vehicle on the 1900 block of Prejean Drive in the afternoon, said LCPD Deputy Chief Mark Kraus. Police located the vehicle near Hwy 14. A 19-minute pursuit then ensued, and ended with a suspect arrested.

    More >>

    The Lake Charles Police Department has arrested one person after a nearly 20-minute pursuit Saturday afternoon. LCPD received a call of a person shooting a firearm from a vehicle on the 1900 block of Prejean Drive in the afternoon, said LCPD Deputy Chief Mark Kraus. Police located the vehicle near Hwy 14. A 19-minute pursuit then ensued, and ended with a suspect arrested.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly