Fire Ready

The past couple of weeks have been filled with fire. First we had the Springer Fire in Eleven Mile Canyon, then lots of smaller arson fires sprinkled around the area with one resulting in the Waldo Canyon fire. During this we had more arson fires. The locals are fed up and now have a reward started for their capture (yes, I think it’s a group). They had just better hope the officials catch them before the locals do because tensions are high and even I would take stronger than normal actions to detain and hold someone until the officials got here.

And we’re all watching.

Ready for any old thing

Having been evacuated for two full weeks for the Hayman Fire (arson compliments of the Forest Service), these past two weeks have showed us how much better prepared we are for these things. I’m actually pleased to see how ready we are. Lots of small habits that don’t seem to matter during regular, non-emergency times have made a huge difference.

  • The gas tanks on the cars are always filled – so we didn’t have to deal with the empty gas stations and lines.
  • Bills are paid promptly and the finances are pulled together in a bag rather easily (though I could do a bit more to make this more organized).
  • Laundry is not a huge pile (evacuating with dirty laundry may be an easy way to pack, but it’s a PITA to figure out where to do laundry during an evacuation).
  • Prescriptions are up to date – except one that turned out to be a fiasco, and was in part my fault because I put off a visit to the doctor’s office, but we’re fine now.
  • Our working pantry is full and well stocked, so we don’t need to add to the frustration of the officials trying to keep services open in an evacuation zone. We have plenty of dog food, milk, eggs, bread, veggies and fruits because I headed to town for those items when it seemed the fire was getting close enough to possibly hit a trigger point for evacuations.
  • We have phone numbers of neighbors and communicate with them regularly about what’s happening. We also know where they would evacuate to, so in case we need to find them quickly, we can.

And we know what to take. During the Hayman Fire, we moved a good chunk of our things to a storage unit. That also taught us what items we really do want to save. One thing I will always evacuate is Grandmother’s spoon – the one I use to cook with all the time. It’s a shape and size that I love. And it was Grandmother’s. I think of her every time I use it. Take the odd items with you. Everyone has at least one.

We rented a storage unit during the past couple of weeks, but have really only taken down our personal archives and a few other items. I’ve taken advantage of this and done a sort of reverse cleaning. Remove what you want to keep and then sort through what’s left (again, I love that dumpster of ours). The house isn’t as ready right now to welcome people in need as I’d like – but it’s getting there. This break in normal routines is an opportunity to pause and really work on just being ready. A gift definitely oddly wrapped.

We also have our own trigger points – when there’s a fire within X distance, we start preparations. We will never wait for government officials to tell us when to start pre-evacuation organization or when it’s too dangerous to stay. That’s how people have died this year in fires. We also know more about fire behavior, and have a healthy respect for how quickly and how far it can potentially move. So many people in town said they weren’t doing anything because they were thinking positively. Um, that’s denial. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. Being ready for any old thing is not bad.

The good news is that it does look like the monsoon moisture has started to arrive. For the past three days we’ve had rain showers here – not a lot of rain, but three days in a row, and the same pattern of afternoon showers on the horizon for quite awhile. Last night it was down right chilly. Good cold air to keep the fire down on the ground where firefighters can do their job.

That means it’s time to get back into normal routines, but still stay ready to go.


One Response to Fire Ready

  • Janet K says:

    Hi Janet….I have read your blog form time to time and really enjoy it. I moved to Colorado 4 years ago…and I have learned alot from your posts. I think I will start to keep a nature journal myseld. I keep seeing things that I never saw growing up in MA…this week it was a snowy egret! Anyway.,…with the fires this week, I thought of you…hoping for some rain to help …

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