I don't think I ever wrote about our wildfire a week and a half ago, but it was really bad. Over 1300 acres, that kind of bad. My family was very very blessed, because while the fire was extremely close to us, distance-wise, the 25- to 30-mph winds were blowing away from us. Had the winds shifted, we would have been evacuated, and our house (more than likely) wouldn't be here right now. We've had fires closer than this (my next door neighbor burned down 10 acres a few summers ago, but it was on the other side of her property from us) several times, but I don't know that any have been this scary.
My part of Texas is the driest area in the country right now. I can totally prove it:
See that big, dark brown bubble? I live right smack-dab in the middle of it. Texas is the only state out of 50 that had the dark brown right now. If we don't get rain soon ... well, things sure aren't going to get any better. And they're not so good right now, know what I mean? (The US Drought Map can be found here.)
The kids and I are about to sit down at the table and get our indoor seeds started. I'd love to direct sow everything right now, but I just know we've got one more freeze lurking somewhere around the corner. It won't kill me to wait a week or two. I never did get my onions and potatoes in ... I didn't want to water them. And everyone at the Farmers' Market will have them, so I don't feel too bad. :)
So. Back to the fire. It really got me thinking. God forbid something were to happen and you were evacuated from your house, do you know what you would take? If you had five minutes to get out, what would make it with you in the car? If you had an hour, what would you take?
We have a three-tiered list.
the Stewart Bug-Out List
Stage One (aka, stage 'holy crap, the backyard is on fire!!')
*BOBs (bug-out bags, we have two, and each has a change of clothes and jammies for each of us, some cash that is NEVER allowed to be touched, munchies like granola bars and raisins, a few new goodies for the kids, and copies of insurance papers and vital numbers. These bags live where they can always be easliy reached, and are ready to go at all times.)
*computer hard drive and cameras, if time allows (we monthly back up all pics, music, etc to CDs, and the CDs live at Chili's, so if we lose the computer, we don't lose everything)
Stage Two (aka, stage 'the backyard isn't on fire yet, but we see the firemen knocking on doors up the street headed our way')
*all of theStage One stuff
*my jewelrey box (I'm a vain person, ok? I like my stuff)
*comfort stuff for the kids (stuffed animals or blankets)
*heirloom stuff (I've got some very sentimentally valuable old quilts, etc)
*our guns and any ammo on hand (no because I think we'd need it on the road, I just like my guns and would rather not replace them if I have a chance to grab them)
Stage Three (aka, stage 'we're gettting word that we need to leave if the winds don't die down soon, but the fire or whatever disaster is still a ways off)
*all Stage One and Two stuff
*a few more bags of clothes
*anything the kids have time to grab, if reasonable
*my seed collection
*whatever else we feel we safely have time for
Now, that being said ... there is nothing in this house worth risking my life. If we need to get out, we're out. Period. We have insurance, and frankly, it's all just stuff. Yes, some of it is stuff I really like, but still. Stuff.
I know some of my list might seem silly to you, like the seeds and books in stage three. But I love my seeds, especially now that I've started collecting my own. And we have some books that almost can't be replaced. And I know that I don't need a change of clothes, because I can always buy another set of jammies, but if I'm being evacuated from my house, and I'm going to have to sleep in a strange bed (even if it's at a friend or relative's house), I want my own jammies. So there. :)
Anyway. I just wanted to give you something to think about. What would you do if you had to leave at a moment's notice, not just because of fire danger? Do you have at least two evacuation routes? What if it's something far less complex than that; do your kids and husband know where to meet if there's a fire in your house? Do they know not to go back in any burning building? I pray that I will never need to use any of this information, but seriously, people. Does it hurt so much to plan ahead?
And please pray that we get some of the rain they're forecasting this weekend, and that this will be a totally moot post. :)