- Know where current fires are at all times, and plan accordingly. Do not hike near uncontained active fires. Information about current fires can always be found online. Contact local land management or firefighting resources if you have specific questions. Download Gaia’s new heat-mapped wildfire overlay and plug it into your GPS.
- Have a plan B, fast evac., for your trip route. Know the terrain you will be hiking in. Create evacuation routes in case you are cut off from your entry trailhead.
- Carry a satellite communication device, like our favorite, the Garmin inReach Mini, in case you become stranded or surrounded. Or to keep in touch with the folks following your trip for the latest info on fire risk and air quality issues.
- Carry an N95 mask into the backcountry for smoke filtration. Cloth face masks popularized by the COVID19 crisis do not have sufficient filters should you find yourself surrounded by particulate-dense, unhealthy air.
- Refrain from starting campfires. And be extra careful with cooking in camp, using only safe and approved camp stoves that you are familiar with operating. Or even go stoveless.
- BE conservative in your decision making. If you aren’t confident or you don’t feel safe, turn around. The mental burden of worrying about the threat of fire is in and of itself enough to ruin a trip. It is never worthwhile to endanger yourself or your partners. And as we noted earlier, first responders are stretched impossibly thin, and it is up to us not to add to their burden with a new fire or a backcountry rescue.
These are unprecedented and challenging times, and we wish you safe and happy trails as soon as it becomes appropriate to get back out there.
– The Adventure Alan Staff