May 17, 2011
What Would You Take?
What to do? Fire up the portable generator and the problem is solved! Not so! The dude would not start!
OK, over to the neighbours to borrow theirs. While I was pulling out of the driveway, a Department of Swamps and Marshes fellow in a half ton pulls up and says that there is a wild fire just over the hill and that we should be prepared to move out immediately with minutes notice.
OK, I went back to the house, told Elaine what was going on and started packing. We were done in about 15 minutes, and ready to go. I hooked up the generator and got heat on for the chicks, then put halters on the horses with name tags, owners name and phone numbers duct taped inside a plastic bag to the halter. I figured that if the fire crested the hill, I would cut the neighbours fence and turn the horses loose. He has a quarter section with very few trees, short grass and lots of room.
The wind was from the south east gusting to 65 km/h and the fire was climbing the hill into the wind. Our friend lived on the downwind side of the fire and kept us posted on what was happening. I drove down and talked to the fire chief and looked at the situation. I figured the fire would climb the hill to the crest and then meet the wind front which would likely stop it dead in its tracks. The real hazard was in the direction of the wind, towards our friends place. Anyway, they had a helicopter spotter and 16 men plus 2 pumpers on the ground and they soon had it out. They took their time getting into the source because there was a tree across the line and wires on the ground. Even though the area had no live power, they had to wait until Fortis isolated that run of line.
OK, that is the overall scenario.
Now, what would you take in 15 minutes notice?
All we packed went into 2 large boxes and a couple of shopping bags.
Medicine, a change of clothes, camera, computer (it has 10,000 family photos on it), Tooth brush, ID, wallets, Bibles, Tax files and that was basically it!
Fortunately, there was no need to evacuate, but it really focused our minds on what was important. All the rest was "Stuff", and easily replaced.
Now, what would you take. I would be interested in knowing.
I can really appreciate what are neighbours to the north in Slave Lake are going through. Approximately 40% of the town was burned down and about 7000 people evacuated. We were lucky!
The picture is not of our fire, or of Slave lake.