Fire Experience: The Woolsey Fire

Having done a “bug out” for a fire evacuation for the first time, I can look back and give ourselves about a B+ grade overall. We were able to get organized as a family pretty well. I managed to grab clothing, toiletries, passport, laptop, phone charger, my favorite pillow, and some handicrafts to keep me busy for an unknown number of days. (For those curious: I grabbed one SCA dress and there was one bellydance outfit already in my car. If we lost everything, I would have had one of each.) Turned out my toothbrush was missing from my standard travel bag of toiletries. But my sister had more toothbrushes at her house, so that was an easy remedy. When I left my sister’s place, I forgot to pack up my shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, and toothpaste. But overall, we managed to evacuate efficiently. Both my Sweetie and Boyo forgot shampoo when they grabbed their toiletries. Sweetie forgot a phone charger that went to a wall outlet (just had a USB cord version). And Boyo forgot the power cord to his laptop. Sweetie also grabbed absolutely all his Santa gear, since that’s his living for the next two months. Final tally: we all had our passports and the “important papers” folder, clothing, shoes, important gear, prescriptions, and each other.

My sister lives “29 miles away” from my house, which I normally consider an hour away. Her new home is tucked into some extreme canyons and hills, so I had zero cell coverage at her home. It’s very odd to only have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and email available, and no calls or texts. I created a “meme image” that I could post on all the social media just to let friends and family know how to contact me.

Sweetie and Boyo went back home a day before me and spent extra time running the humidifier and fans to air out and improve the air in the house. Plus they had time to unpack the Santa gear and start airing it out from the heavy smoke smell. We were *extremely* fortunate because the fire skipped our neighborhood entirely. There’s open wilderness across the street from us, and fire came to that hill. But we are on the edge of a densely packed residential section and the fire fighters saved us all.

The rest of this area is not as lucky. There are still freeway closures. There were homes lost about 1-2 miles due east of us (“south” on the 101 freeway from us). And the wilderness between the 101 and PCH is where “Old Mullholand” runs along the ridges of the mountains. I don’t know how many homes and ranches were lost. And there are still active fires being fought.

For now, I am just inconvenienced. I have to drive long paths out of my way to go around the freeway closures. And I am awake today before 4 AM, to make certain I can get to work on time / early. But I have a home to go to. I have my entire family. My job was not affected.

I am thankful beyond belief.

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Also? Apparently I handle the stress of waiting by making things by hand that require my attention.

Complete photos here on Google Photos