This isn't a direct answer to the question, but I want to point out that most ordinary forest fires pose little danger to humans. It is the relatively unusual crown fires which can be very dangerous.
In generally dry pine forests, like many parts of the western US, forest fire is a natural and relatively frequent (from the point of view of long-lived trees) event. Periodic fires clear out the understory and ground litter. The plants in these areas have evolved with this pattern of fires and have various strategies for dealing with it and even benefitting from it. The long lived trees have evolved means to survive such fires. Mechanisms include thick and fire-resistant bark, and shedding low limbs as the tree grows. If a area is swept by such a fire periodically, then the down and dead fuel is periodically removed and the nutrients locked up in them returned to the soil.
True crown fires are a different story. They are very destructive but also relatively unusual. We hear about them way out of proportion to the fraction of fires they represent. This is probably because a ordinary forest fire that stays on the ground and clears out the litter is not news-worthy. In a crown fire, enough fuel is burned on the ground in a concentrated area so that heat builds up much more than normal. This then causes the whole canopy to catch fire, which gives it access to much more fuel, which then causes nearby whole trees to catch fire, etc. These are the fires we hear about on the news and that blacken and kill whole stands of trees.
Crown fires happen when a normal fire hits a area where understory litter has built up. This is usually due to human intervention from stopping the normal understory fires. Of course these large fires do occur naturally too since fires are very spotty and some area may not get a small fire for 100 years just due to chance. Human activity has greatly accellerated that chance.
Here is what a ordinary understory fire looks like:
I came accross this fire on the south flank of Eagle Peak in Western NM on 2 Aug 2009, although I doubt it made any more than the local news, if that. The fire was slowly spreading by smoldering thru the leaf litter on the forest floor. When it hit a dry and down log, it would flare up a bit locally, then die down again as the log was exhausted. This picture is a good representation of how spotty fires are. You can see from the darkened forest floor where the fire had been and how various patches were skipped for whatever reasons. Note also how the older trees, ponderosa pines in this case, are basically unscathed, even if growing in the middle of one of the burnt patches. Even a few of the small trees in the burnt patches seem to have survived.
The smoke is coming from where the smoldering leaf litter reached a few down logs, which then caught fire with real flames. However, the few logs in this location aren't enough to cause a raging fire. They will slowly be burnt to ash over the next day or so, with the fire front meanwhile moving on. You can see a horizontal white streak at the center of the left edge of the picture. That was a log that had already been completely burnt, with the only thing left being the streak of lighter-colored ash.
I could easily and safely walk all around this fire. Here is a stump that is burning rapidly enough to show flames:
Note that most everything around it has already been burnt, so this stump will burn to ash and then the fire will be over in that specific location. As you can see, I could walk right up to this without being in any danger.
I did discover one danger from this fire that I wasn't previously aware of. Stumps like the one in the second picture eventually burn underground for a little ways too. Most of the material then gets removed as combustion gasses, so almost nothing is holding the ground up where the stump used to be. I accidentally stepped on one of these and sank in up to my knee. It was easy enough to get out, but if the fire had been at that stump more recently I could possibly have gotten burnt on my leg. Fortunately it was only "hot", and a few seconds in the hole before I could pull my leg out did no damage and was not long enough to hurt.