Hurry up and wait...preparing for wildfires at home

Blog Post created by michelesteinberg Employee on Jun 25, 2012

In Perry Park today (Monday, June 25), Colorado's wildfires continue all around us.  The High Park fire is now at 82,000+ acres and over 240 homes destroyed.  The Waldo Canyon Fire exploded west of Colorado Springs on Saturday forcing the evacuation of over 11,000 people.  Smaller wildfires are only mentioned in passing.  These are getting closer to home:  one in Elbert County yesterday, and another just over the Rampart Range in my home county of Douglas.

My wife Barb and I took some time out this weekend to determine our status relative to being ready to leave our home if necessary. We are using tips and concepts from Firewise and the Ready, Set, Go! programs.  Are we truly ready?  Are we Firewise enough?  What did I overlook?  Where will that ember sneak past my defenses?   Have I cut enough brush?  Are the trees pruned high enough?  The list goes on in my head.  I want to have all this done BEFORE the wildfire happens here.  I’m hydrating the landscaping all around the house, and hunting down that last spot where pine needles or leaves may have collected from last night’s winds.  The rake has become my friend and an extension of my arm.

Then I think about the "Set" part of "Ready, Set, Go!".  Where are all the important papers and documents?  Some are still in the same place as 2002, the year of our Hayman Fire evacuation.  But, ten years have passed and other newer documents are spread throughout the house.  Where are the vehicle titles?  How about the trailer and scooter titles?  Are our marriage license and birth certificates still in the same place?  Insurance papers are handy and almost within arm's reach.  The list goes on and on.  Which medications do we need?  Can we get them refilled easily?  I’ve backed up my business computer to a portable hard drive that will fit in my back pocket.  I can’t imagine trying to recreate 12 years of business documents from memory.  I went through the entire house yesterday with a video camera and captured everything in the house.  Barb is taking a set of the videos, on CDs, to her office this morning.

Finally, all ready to "Go!"  The cat carriers are by the garage door.  The precious, irreplaceable heirlooms are in their containers.  Documents are now condensed down to several handy banker boxes. Our meeting spot is at Barb’s nephew’s house in Castle Rock.  It’s hot.  It’s dry.  Another Red Flag Day in Colorado.  Will it be our turn today?  

--Keith Worley