Today we all experienced something that I hope we’ll never have to experience again – our first evacuation. It was actually a pre-evacuation, but really stressful and scary nonethelss. A fire broke out this afternoon in the foothills above our house. It was caused by lightening and was coined the ‘Flagstaff Fire’, named after the moutain that it was quickly incinerating. Although I’ve realised that many properties around this area come with high risk of natural disaster – flooding in areas closer to the creek and fire in properties backing to open space or in the canyons – I had never thought that we were in danger in this house.
But today when the fire erupted and smoke was billowing down from the fire on the mountain only a mile and a half away, reality set in. We received a phone call notifying us that a pre-evacuation notice had been issued for our neighborhood, and that we should prepare to leave. With heavy smoke in the air and the sky turning dark behind our house, we decided to play it safe, pack up our valuables, and head to nana and papa’s. It was such a surreal experience. I’d never before thought through the process of evacuating, but I think we kept our composure and gathered everything quickly. Your nana was here and she helped a lot too.
Looking back it is quite interesting to consider the things that we grabbed. In addition to all of the obvious, irreplacable documents and items (birth certificates, passports, photos), I stuffed a bag full of my purses and boots. I’ve always thougth I’d give those things to you one day, and so I sure wasn’t going to leave them behind! Also as I ran around gathering items to take I found myself layering on more and more jewelry. Then I decided we should fill up our suitcases with clothes. But what do you pack when you might never return? Work clothes, casual clothes, your favorite clothes? I did a combination of clothes, but looking back it was a random assortment of items that I ended up with.
But in the end, the fact that we got out of here as a family, and with the dogs, ensured we really had everything that mattered. And hopefully we’ll never go through this ever again.