Now for some more technical questions:
1. How fast can fire move anyway? Can I outrun it? How far is the fire capable of spotting ahead of itself? What should I fear most - the heat, smoke, or flame?
2. How does the amateur assess probable temperature "in the black"? While you state that crossing into the black may be prudent, I have little confidence in knowing when the black is safe. I guess I have to assess remaining fuel conditions first (assuming I have a vantage point to see them)?
3. How can the amateur judge when the backing heal or active flank is cool enough to cross? Just because the fire has "laid down" for the night, at what point is it cool enough to cross into the black without searing the lungs, burning the skin, melting my polyester pants (sorry, I don't usually wear Nomex!), etc.?
4. If I find myself at the head of a fire, what can I do? Do I need to attempt to flank it? Should I cross the ridge ahead of me first? Assess terrain traps? Find a lake?
5. When if ever should someone light a backfire to burn out a safe zone? Where? Will the land management agency send me a bill? Will local law enforcement arrest me? Why else is this a bad idea for the amateur?
6. I have to assume that the average hotshot or smokejumper has a lot of information fed to them on the radio, or that they can observe it with equipment that the average hiker would not have. For example, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, forecast data, lookout reports, briefings, etc. Can a hiker who comes upon a fire really gather enough data to make an accurate assessment of the conditions in order to employ the tactics you suggest?
Maybe I should just hold tight for next week's installment - Escape and Evasion?