Friday, June 6, 2014

Wildfire Prep

Looking out past the milk barn and seeing smoke billowing on the mountain is concerning.  Watching five Department of Natural Resource trucks and a water tender from the local fire district speeding by the road adds to the concern.

You can see the smoke coming up on the mountain between the silo and barn.
This is the scene that unfolded right before quiet time on Wednesday.  It provided a great teaching moment on wildfires.  And on being prepared.

Thankfully, after calling my husband and having him get information from his mom who works at DNR, we decided it wasn't an immediate threat to us.  The fire was on adjacent land, but it was being contained and held by logging roads, which separated our land.

But, a little more wind, a little more flame, and the situation could have been different.  When you live in the woods, you know that wildfires are a distinct possibility.  And you develop a plan.  And build a green zone around your house.

Here are some of the items on our plan, just in case we ever have to evacuate.

1. Kids--obviously the biggest concern.  Everything else is replaceable.
2. Dog--put his crate in the back of the car.  He won't like it, but he'd be safe.
3. Our emergency bag.  Has clothes and pajamas for everyone, and a couple days worth of meds for Owen.  I need to update this bag for the current season, and get it ready to go. We did a quick pack on Wednesday just in case, but it needs some more thought.  I also need to get some snacks.  Hungry kids are grumpy kids!
4. Desktop tower and laptops.  Lots of important data.  And pictures.  Our really important actual documents are protected in a fire safe.  But our digital files aren't as fire protected. Living out here, we don't have unlimited internet, so backing everything up online isn't yet a viable option for us. 
5. Free the pigs and open the pasture gate for the cows.  Trust them to use their instincts and find safety.  Since our chickens are still free ranging right now, they'd be safe on their own.  If they were enclosed, they'd be added to our free list.

Obviously, letting the animals go is something we don't just want to do nilly-willy.  Getting them back would be hard if it turned out to be a false alarm.  But, I'd rather free them than have htem burn.

Thankfully in all the years we've lived here (and when I lived across the road as a child), we've never had to evacuate for a fire.  That means I've never had to make that decision.

We trust the Lord to protect us, and know that if the time comes that it happens, He will guide us and that everything that happens is in His perfect plan.  Thus, we don't fret too much about fire.  We have a plan, get prepared, and then don't worry.

During Wednesday's fire, I was blessed to be able to ride up and check it out with my mom and some of the kids.  I was able to snap this picture through the front windshield.  You can see that we have a great crew of people (many of them volunteers!) battling the blaze.  I'm very thankful for these men and women!

We learned later that a lightning storm Tuesday night started the fire.  It burned 5-6 acres of land.

What else should we do for wildfire preparation? 

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