Fire Survival Tents

The text and documents linked to this article were all supplied by Barry Marsden

The first personal survival tent was developed in Australia by the CSIRO in 1958, and the tent was tested in January 1959 on a flank of a 40,000ha fire burning in East Gippsland. A similar shelter was being developed in the USA around this time. History shows that the use of a tent to provide personal protection from wildfire was not adopted by forest agencies in Australia, but was adopted, and is still in use (as at 2021) in the USA.

The documentation below will provide details about the development of the Fire Survival Tent and why it was not adopted in Australia. It contains three articles:

  • A Survival Tent for Rural Firefighters - AR King (CSIRO), 1962
  • A History of the Development of the Fire Shelter - B Marsden
  • An Australian Position Paper on Fire Shelters - B Marsden, 2000


You may also be interested in this video produced in 2008 showing USDA Forest Service advances in the survival tent.


Fire Survival Tent Trial - Val Cleary is inside the tent
Trentham Forest District
November 1962
Source: G Cleary