If you watch the news, major portions of California, Washington, Oregon and Idaho are either burning now or have been recently. Of particular concern to me and my friends is the fire burning north of Napa, CA called the Valley Fire. This fire has burned almost 70,000 acres and destroyed 585 homes and an unknown number of out buildings as of 7:30 a.m. September 15.
One area that has been hit particularly hard is the town of Middletown and the surrounding countryside. Reports say that the town has suffered major damage, and videos filmed by residents fleeing the fire, and shot afterwards, confirms those claims.
A local resident interviewed said she had 30 minutes to get out of her house before the fire got to her. Caution! This video suffers very poor sound for the first 2:25 minutes and then clears up, so keep your speakers down!
My friend the Gear Nut has a friend who, more than likely, has lost his family vacation home to the Valley fire. His house was protected well, with brush cleared away for 100 feet, no big trees overhanging the building, and whatever landscaping that didn't die in the drought having been cut back. No one was there last weekend, but the family has been cleaning up from summer trips and planning for cooler weather and approaching holidays. Their closest neighbor said that their houses are reported to be gone, and every other house in the canyon is more than likely gone too. The neighbor said they had an hour before the fire came over the ridge to get packed and head to safety... not much time if you haven't planned what to take and what to leave.
Prepping for Evacuation
Several of the BCP bloggers have written about fire and evacuating quickly, starting with some of my own posts here and here. Lokidude has one here, and Erin has spoken (in passing) about fires in her BOB planning posts.
The most important thing to take away from all of our posts is to be ready to go NOW. Not tomorrow, not in an hour, RIGHT NOW!
To do that, you have to plan ahead. To plan ahead, you have to have a list of what is important and what is not. This plan should be reviewed regularly and adjusted for changing conditions and members of your group.
Items to Have Ready
- Bug out bags for each person.
- Cell phone, personal electronics and chargers for each item, including car charging cables.
- Important papers, photos and sentemental items. Copies of your important papers should be in each persons bag.
- Food and carriers for your pets if you have any, as well as leashes, vet records, water bowls and toys.
- First aid items and medicines, with copies of your prescriptions. Don't forget eyeglass prescriptions.
- Cash: enough to fill your vehicle twice and buy several days of meals.
- Any other items that will help make your time away easier.
I need to re-do my list of Important Things, since the weather is changing and I plan on it raining in the fall.
At least a little.
- What you do needs to be planned out, written down and reviewed with everyone involved.
- There are no 'Do Overs' in the face of a disaster.
If you have comments, suggestions or corrections, please post them so we all can learn. And remember, Some Is Always Better Than None!