Fire shelters are last resort measure for fighters

Posted at: 07/01/2013 6:22 PM
By: Erica Zucco, KOB Eyewitness News 4

According to the US Forest Service, fire shelters must be used by anyone going past a fire line, but they're meant to be used as a last resort.

They're made of fire resistant material and are meant to withstand heats past a thousand degrees.

Firefighters clear an area, then open the shelter and climb in feet first, facing head away from heat. They also dig a hole to breathe into. They stay in the small shelters for however long it takes a fire to pass.

"It's designed to offer as much protection as possible and take up as little space as possible," NM USFS spokesperson Dan Ware said. "The less surface area there is, the less heat hits that surface area."

Firefighters have to be recertified in how to use the shelters every year.

Overall, they're meant to be used as an extreme measure, when there's no other way out.