The house is in a rural area. The view is spectacular and the quiet is a soothing bubble from the rest of the world.
Then came the drought and we worried about our well. Five years of less than normal rain led to dry wells and lost homes. Our well is deep by residential standards but we didn’t know how long that depth would hold sufficient water for ourselves and our neighbors.Would it dry up? Would it recover?
We got rain year before last. A lot of rain. Our back area became more of a swimming pool than a dog play area. we worried about the well.
See the rocks on the right side of the main picture? That is our well head. Drainage water covering the main pipe causes contamination. Yuck!
We got lucky. The well cap stayed dry, the water subsided and lush grass and brush began growing at a rapid rate. It was a glorious Spring.
And then it wasn’t.
They called it “the Hill Fire”. I was driving home. Spouse, dogs and cat were at home. Home was very close to that plume of smoke.
The Highway Patrol man was very nice but, NO, I could not drive to my house. The area was being evacuated. The fire, he said, was heading towards my road.
I could do nothing.
We thought we had prepared for this. We had a plan.
We were not even close.
Spouse, with the help of a friend who drove over the hills to get to our home, made it to safety with dogs and cat. There was no thought of clothes or dog food or cat food or cat litter. But the computers were with him.
There had been less than ten minutes to escape.
Again, we got lucky.
The fire was stopped less than a quarter of a mile from our home. The road to our neighbor’s, where I would run, was the scene of an apocalypse.
We had to embrace the reality of fire. We had to be prepared.
We made “go bags” for every creature in our home. They have clothes, medications, all the personal items that one might need away from home. The animals’ food, blankets, litter (and box) are all packed and ready to go. The computers are backed up to some secret place in the cloud. (I really wanted to make a joke about computers in heaven but I thought better of it!)
The bags sat by the front door collecting a lot of dust. That was fine by me. If we didn’t have to use them, I was happy.
Then we got this week’s weather forecast. Temperatures in the triple digits. Winds high. Low humidity. No evening on shore breezes. We were squarely in the middle of a “red flag” fire warning. The slightest thing could start a wildfire. The electric company called to advise that if conditions began severe enough, the electricity would be turned off.
Today the “go-bags” are in the truck. The animal carriers have been cleaned and set by the front door. Some memorabilia, some important papers and photos are packed and in the truck.
We had to embrace the reality of fire, determine our priorities and follow our plan.
We will not be caught flat footed this time. We hope that that time will not come this year. If it does, we have given ourselves the best chance of surviving.