June tends to be our worst month in terms of fires. We generally get a fair amount of moisture in May, and then the North American monsoon usually arrives by mid-July bringing frequent afternoon rainstorms. But June tends to be bone dry and hot, hot, hot! I fear this year is no exception.
I could write a good long rant about wildfires, and how totally insane it is that people keep building more and more houses in the "wilderness." Of course, once the woods are full of people, they're no longer "wild" and the natural fires that would normally clear out the dead wood and underbrush are not allowed to burn... so the forests build up a HUGE amount of fuel. Add to that the drought and the global warming-induced pine beetle infestation and you pretty much have a recipe for disaster.
So it's not really surprising to me that each year we keep hitting new milestones for Colorado's "most destructive fire in history." Last year it was the Waldo Canyon Fire which burned on the northwest edge of Colorado Springs destroying 346 homes. This year, it's been the Black Forest Fire on the northeast side of Colorado Springs, which has, to date destroyed 473 homes.
CatMan grew up in the springs, so we have a lot of friends down there, and have been anxiously monitoring the fire maps. We have some friends who have a home in Black Forest, and it looks like they're gonna squeak through this one by the skin of their teeth. Homes burned to the ground about 1000 yards on three sides of them, but fortunately their home was in a little pocket that the fire missed.
Anyhow, when you watch hour after hour of fire coverage on television, it makes you really think about stuff. And I mean that literally - you think about all the "stuff" that people own.
So far, this fire has claimed two lives... the remains were found in what was left of the garage where the couple had been packing up their belongings for several hours. Somehow, I just can't get that out of my mind. They had several hours to evacuate, but somehow they pushed it just a little bit too far and the fire overcame them.
|A home destroyed in the Black Forest Fire|
Now, I'm not exactly what you might call a minimalist. I think I own a lot less stuff than your average American, but nobody is gonna mistake my house for an Amish residence.
But it all makes me think, if I had only a few minutes to pack the car and get out, what would I save?
Of course, the first thing would be to get the cats to safety. After that, I'm not really sure. I suppose it might depend on how much time I had. I'd probably grab necessary stuff first like medication, cash, and critical documents.
Beyond that, it would be nice to save my computer just for convenience sake - though I am backed up to the cloud. After that I'd probably grab the photo albums and a few things like a change or 2 of clothing and maybe the cat beds so they'd be less frightened in an unfamiliar place.
But I'd be hard pressed to think of any thing that would be worth risking my life for.
Of course, that's all pretty easy to say when you're not faced with the situation - but I certainly hope that I'd err on the side of safety.
So how about you? What would you do if you had only an hour to pack up and evacuate?