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Old 12-07-2006, 07:57 PM   #16
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Tires burn very long, and produce a lot of smoke.
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Old 12-07-2006, 09:25 PM   #17
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It seems as if a burning hillside would send thick smoke higher in the air, and the flames would be more visible . After they burned the tires it seems as if they stopped burning stuff.
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:00 PM   #18
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You can go to jamesandkati.com where there is a link to send donations, or just emails to the family.
This whole thing was just so wrenching, and the news yesterday that he died was so sad.

I can't really quit thinking about it, how random it was and such a bizarre thing to have happen. And the fact that he made it back to within a half a mile of the car before he died! It seems like he must've had some outdoor skills to make it as far as he did, but he just couldn't fight the hypothermia long enough.

I keep thinking "if only he'd have stayed at the car!", but at the same time, after a *week* in the car with his wife and kids, he must have thought he had no choice but to try and find help. If only they could have found him in time...
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Old 12-07-2006, 10:44 PM   #19
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Finding enough firewood would probably have been extremely difficult if not impossible given the weather, forest type and limited tools they had, and actually setting fire to a hillside would've been incredibly dangerous and could easily have backfired on them. It was snowing heavily much of the time they were trapped, which probably has a lot to do with why they weren't spotted from helicopters--plus they weren't on some main road or anything; they'd wandered off into a warren of unmarked mountain backroads in poor visibility conditions before getting stranded, and were running out of gas as well. From what I've read the only reason they found his wife and kids when they did was because some cell phone engineers had traced some pings from her cell, and even then that didn't provide rescuers with a very precise location.

Apparently he thought the nearest town was much closer than it actually was. But yeah, hypothermia is deadly--I've been on a group mountain hike before which went disastrously wrong, and some people along wound up getting hypothermic...it completely destroys your ability to think, react and respond appropriately.

Still I think he was only doing what just about any responsible parent or friend would've done in that situation; I don't doubt that he had real outdoor skills, but they simply weren't prepared for those circumstances. Mountain driving on unfamiliar roads in the winter is always a risk.
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