On Fires & Uncertainty

by Tammy Strobel on August 17, 2014

Over the last month, wildfires have been burning throughout Southern Oregon and Northern California. At one point, there were over 25 wildfires burning in Siskiyou County (where Logan and I live).

I’m grateful for the firefighters and emergency personnel who have worked hard to keep our communities safe. However, these fires make me feel sad; sad for the families who lost their homes and sad for the scorched landscape.

Also, the wildfires and evacuation advisories made me think about what I would take with me if I had to leave our house very quickly.

If we had to evacuate, I would do the following:

  • Make sure Logan & my in-laws are safe.
  • Round-up the cats & put them in their carriers.
  • Help prepare ranch animals for safe transport.
  • Get emergency backpack & put it in the car.
  • Grab cell phone, cash, car keys & water.
  • Unplug the tiny house from the grid.

I don’t know if we would take the tiny house with us, if we had to evacuate. It would depend on the circumstance. If we felt threatened we would leave the property immediately.

Life is uncertain and it can change in an instant. I’ve learned that lesson many times over the last few years. It’s tempting to think of my reality in a forever frame of mind and that I have control over every aspect of my life. Yet, I don’t have as much control as I’d like to imagine.

For instance, mother nature supersedes my will. I don’t have control over the weather and that was evident as I wrote this essay, last week. I was sitting on my front porch, typing, and every few minutes I’d look at the landscape. Huge black clouds creeped into the foothills, thunder started to roll, and I saw lightening flash in the hills. Nature is powerful and in its wake I can only be aware and prepared.

For additional information on preparing your home for an evacuation visit the Ready Set Go website.

Be well,

1 Anne-Marie August 17, 2014

I have also been thinking about this due to all the wildfires we’ve had and still have.
They are scary and of course they have got a stronger hold on nature this year due to the drought.
I also wrote on my blog recently what I would take.
When I lived in Lake Shastina about 10 years ago there was a fire that spread very quickly and came fairly close to the house where I was living and that’s when I started thinking about what to take with me. Those things are pretty much the same now: important documents, some clothes, some valuables, and my computer and cell phone.
It is good to think about these things and we can just hope that we never have to leave with just a very short notice.

2 Janet Jensen August 18, 2014

Twenty years ago this month we lost out house and everything we owned in a wildfire. We were out camping and came home to our house still burning. It was a shock! Luckily our cats were outside and could run away, even though one got badly burned ( all three lived to a ripe old age). It is a part of me to this day and to my children. It can happened anytime and anywhere in California and the West. We did rebuild and it took over two years to “get back to normal”. We moved seven years ago because I couldn’t stand summers anymore due to the worry of our Flammable neighborhood. We live in town now, still could happen but I do have a fire hydrate in front of my house. LOL

We do have a Fire List, things to take if time. You don’t think right during evacuations and you need a list. It is also good so someone else could grab things, if you are not home. It is very important to close all windows and turn off AC or house fan. But the most important thing I learned is stuff is just stuff and can be replaced. Never risk a life for stuff.

3 Vanessa Laven August 18, 2014

Husband bought a big box of water that’s in sealed pouches. We keep it (and emergency blankets) in our car’s trunk at all times. We also have two ‘get out of town’ bags; one in the car and one in the house. We live in Minnesota so our chances of being trapped by snow in the car is likely. It’s just a good thing to have duplicates of. We also have a box of MREs (meals ready to eat, basically military rations) both at home and in the car. These things don’t take up much space and they’re far more essential to have than boxes of junk. 😉

4 Sandy August 18, 2014

Great post and love that you’ve thought about what you would bring, just in case. I agree that life is uncertain and change WILL happen. It’s how we move through the change that defines who we are as a person. I’ve learned that lesson as well. Thanks!

5 ms August 18, 2014

“2. Choose items in your kit that have a multipurpose use (single task items have less value per weight). In a future post I will detail the items we included in our emergency backpack kit.”

What’s in your emergency backpack kit?


6 Tammy Strobel August 20, 2014

We have a lot of stuff in our emergency backpacks. I’m not going to list everything here, though. Some of the things include a change of clothes, a first aid kit, a sleeping bag, a stove, water bottles, etc. :)

I will ask Logan (who wrote this post) to do a follow up article on this topic.



7 Tracey Martin August 18, 2014

My husband is a firefighter in Colorado Springs and our city has had 2 major fires in the last year. Hundreds have lost their homes and a few their lives. We have an emergency 72 hour pack for each family member with food, water, toiletries for three days as well as 1 change of clothes and shoes and a packet with important documents and contact numbers. We also have an expanded emergency list inside our closet door for what to grab if we have 5 minutes, 15 minutes, or 30 minutes. We have done random practice drills just to locate each of the items so we are all aware. Not one item is important enough to risk your life for. We are minimalists and so much happier for it. We are reminded of how grateful we are to have each other and that everything else in life is replaceable each and every call for a fire. Be well and be safe and cherish the people you love.

8 Laura at SimplyClearly August 19, 2014

Your post was an interesting read and struck a chord as one of my children is a worrier and has a chronic fear of our home burning down. We have never had anything traumatic happen with fire, so I’m not sure where it comes from. He and I have regular conversations about it, what we would do, what would happen, where we would live, etc. The main thing I have tried to instill in him is that we can be the best prepared we know how to be in life, and 99% of the time everything is fine, but there is still a ‘chance’ that yes, sometime, someday, our house could burn down, and that’s okay. Sometimes things happen in life happen that aren’t that fun, but that is part of being alive and experiencing life. It helps so much to live intentionally and simply, and makes being prepared for hardships, especially physical ones, a little easier.

9 Sandra Pawula August 19, 2014

We just had a visit from Hurricane Iselle so I fully resonate with your advice. There’s more I could do to be prepared so I’ll definitely check out the resources you recommend. More than 27,000 people have been without power. I’m very grateful we’re on solar as we had power the entire time. It’s not a 100% guarantee, but it seems a safer bet. Thanks, Tammy.

10 Tracey Martin August 20, 2014

When I was a child we lived in Okinawa and had multiple typhoons hit. They are so scary! My family was military and there were preparations in place for shelter and power that I was so grateful for! Solar is a great option Sandra, we are thinking of that for our home too. P.S. I love your blog too!

11 Kelli August 21, 2014

Logan mentioned doing a post on what went into your emergency backpacks. Did that ever happen? I’d be very interested in reading that post. :)

12 Tammy Strobel August 21, 2014

Kelli, that hasn’t happened, yet. :)

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