As you probably heard, a fire broke out in Black Forest on Tuesday, June 11, around 1:45. The fire devastated almost 500 homes, burned over 15,000 acres, and caused the death of two people.
This is what it looked like from my house on June 11 at 4:00 pm. The fire started about 3 miles - as the crow flies- from our neighborhood.
By Wednesday, our area was on pre-evacuation, which is a nice way to say: take a look around your house and decide on what you will take if the fire gets any closer, take pictures of your furniture for the insurance company, and be ready to go in 30 minutes or less.
|Wednesday afternoon from the driveway|
By Thursday midday, the mandatory evacuation boundary was moved to within 300 yards of our house. With the wind blowing like mad, all bets were off, and we knew that we might have to leave.
The neighbors started to go. One after the other, we watched them pack their Suburbans and drive away. The street was eerily quiet after a while. I thought I would stay until I was told to go by the sheriff's department.
While my husband was gathering important papers and passports, the first things I grabbed were pictures of my children. I also packed my jewelry box filled with not so much jewelry, but my kids' baby teeth and handmade mother's day cards. After that, I threw some clothes in a suitcase- just enough to last for a few days. I filled a box with each of my kids' favorite things (stuffed animals, yearbooks, school stuff). I put my laptops and iPad in a bag, along with my schoolbooks- hey, I might have some time to plan my lessons in the middle of all this...
I packed a silver sugar spoon that my grandmother had put aside for me - her last grandchild-, I filled a basket with fresh fruit and a couple bottles of wine that were on the counter- we might need a drink somewhere along the way, I watered my plants, just in case... I folded five baskets of laundry...
I was filled with a feeling of sadness at the thought of losing my stuff- my several hundred books, my sewing machines, my fabrics, my antiques- , while at the same time knowing that we were lucky to be able to prepare ourselves and exit safely with whatever was precious to us.
As it turned out we did not have to evacuate. The boundaries were moved back on Saturday. Most of the neighbors came back then. Many evacuees were allowed back into their homes yesterday. Some are still not allowed to go back.
It was a close call, and a wake-up call. We are still reeling from all the emotions- happiness the fire is under control, sadness at the devastation, fear, stress, relief it's over.
We are making plans to cut down more scrub oak ( a very flammable tree) and to replace it with apple trees, maybe. We want to be better at organizing things, maybe donate a few things we don't need...Less clutter is good...
So, what would you take with you?