Jim, You have that absolutely correct. Burning was the most terrifying thing that an early pilot could face. Some of the early Gnome engines with valve-in-piston were known to allow crankcase expolsions or fires. Broken fuel lines, forgetting to kill the ignition in case of trouble,all could result in a rather terrible death. Some "wanna be" WW-I pilots should think this over. We tend to think only of the glamerous aspects.
When fire was detected, a pilot would often make for the nearest body of water, jump and try to swim for it. Luf was trying for a pond, but ended up on a picket fence, because he misjudged drift and inertia.