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Homestead Rescue exclusive: Family learn how to survive raging wildfire

The Hanson family in a car with smoke around them on Homestead Rescue
The Hanson family panic as they try to flee a “wild fire” during a drill on Homestead Rescue

On tonight’s episode of Discovery series Homestead Rescue, expert homesteader Marty Raney coaches a family on how to make it out of a raging wildfire alive.

Marty is a second-to-none homestead builder, master stone mason, hunter and mountain guide.

With help from his farmer daughter Misty Raney and son Matt Raney, a hunter and fisherman, he trains the Hanson clan in White City, Oregon, on how to survive an unpredictable and fast-moving wildfire.

Matt designed this exercise to mimic real conditions when the summer fires rage in the dry western forests.

There is excessive smoke and adrenalized action as the Raney family gauges the Hanson family’s evacuation strategy.

The family enlisted Raney to help them fine-tune a fire survival plan after the wild Cascade Mountain wildfires last summer nearly consumed the Hanson homestead and killed a neighbor of theirs.

The sobering importance of this exercise in not lost on patriarch Jerry Hansen.

He says: “It was those wildfire conditions that killed my neighbor, it burned him alive. If we get surrounded by fire and there’s no way out. Our ‘Plan B’ is to head to the pond and seek cover from the flame.”

Sensing the urgency, Marty is all business in this drill. His son Matt is in awe of what his dad has created, saying: “We know one thing for sure, my dad is a pyro!”

In an ad hoc meeting after he sets a controlled burn, he instructs Jerry and his family: “All right, follow me please. If that house catches on fire right now, no Fire Department is coming.

“Here we’re outside of the jurisdiction. I figure you got about two minutes to get your stuff and get out of here. The fire’s coming… starting now!”

Marty Raney and the Hanson family standing by the car in smoke
Raney holds an ad hoc emergency meeting to mobilize the Hansens to act

Energized and ready to flee, calamity suddenly strikes as the only exit from the burning property is now a road blocked by a flaming fallen tree. Jerry realizes he’s trapped.

Trying to get his homesteader focused on the task at hand, Marty then directs a slightly panicked Jerry to another way out to safety.

The premise of Raney’s Homestead Rescue on Discovery sees him head to all points in the USA, from Alaska, Virginia, Hawaii, North Carolina, Montana, Oregon and other states, where novice homesteaders have called upon the Raney family consultancy for help as they try to learn the ropes so they can live life off the grid.

Raney, with his children Misty and Matt, share their knowledge to prepare the families for potential obstacles and set them up for a successful transition to complete independence.

The decision lies with each homesteading family, will they make it through their first year or throw in the towel and hop back on the grid?

Homestead Rescue airs Wednesdays at 10/9c on Discovery

April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer more

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