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GOG

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This is a recap of our recent experience during the wildfires currently burning in Southern Oregon. There's much involved and I want to give an honest and accurate recounting of events, so this will probably wander a bit.

The fires actually started on July 15th due to lightning strikes and things progressed from there.

The fire we were threatened by was the Taylor Creek Fire and it's still burning, although it's being managed at this point. There were so many fires that it was included in the Garner Complex fire to more efficiently fight it and the other fires that are in the area.
However it grew so large that it was broken out into its own fire again to manage it better. As of last Tuesday, 8/13/18 the Klondike Fire & Taylor Creek Fire are over 100,000 acres.

This place is my BOL/retreat so I'm not just leaving on a whim. I've always said that the only way I'm leaving here will be because of a natural disaster or feet first.
Well, I got to test my theory and had no choice but to bug out.

We were blessed to stay with friends at their ranch and that was a good thing because there wasn't a motel room within miles. We would have been forced to camp somewhere if we could find a spot plus the fact that the smoke was horrendous. It's still bad, but not quite as bad as it was.

A lesson learned on the subject; when the budget allows we're going to buy a small travel trailer and stock it with the basics to have on standby. I bought a new truck last year to have the capability to tow, so now it's time to figure out that part and do what's next indicated.

Although we had bugout bags and we keep some things pre-loaded in the truck, we still had to grab, pack and go. The basics were already covered; the important papers and the most important stuff are always ready to go, but there was still some fumbling around before our exit.

It's also expensive! We spent a bunch of money and I can't honestly tell you where most of it went.

One of the worst issues of the entire event was the lack of timely information. Understandably things are quite fluid during an event like this but the extreme lack of info just added to the fear and frustration of a lousy situation.

We actually bugged out twice. We were able to return for a few days, but then the fire continued to blow up and we had to beat feet again for a longer period. It was an emotional roller coaster ride and by the time we were able to come home we were both mentally and physically exhausted.
Sleeping patterns are disrupted, meal times, etc, and it was tough on our pets as well.

Our cat was locked up in a bedroom for three days and then for eight days. The dog also spent way too much time in there. So although we had supplies and had prepped for their bugout, their lives got disrupted and they were stressed as well.
We keep "Rescue Remedy" on hand for them. It comes in several forms but we use the tincture for the fur family. It's actually fine for people too and so I don't mind using it for them. Its a mixture of about six herbs and it has a calming effect. We put a few drops on their tongue and in a little while they are doing better.

I will definitely devote more time and money for communications equipment and training. This was my main failure area and the most frustrating.
We have to get a solar charger or two and some other gear as yet undetermined.
I also will get some type of scanner/receiver and will look into ham and other comms asap because I only know really basic stuff.

We also tossed all the perishable food in the fridge since the power was likely to go out and I was going to kill the main anyway. *Kill the main breaker to prevent a fire during an evacuation for a fire. :rolleyes:

Food... We did our best to save our frozen food which was mostly meats. We emptied the chest freezer and the fridge freezer and stored them in a spare freezer at the ranch where we stayed. Unfortunately that freezer didn't work and we only found out after all the food went bad. So the price of evacuating may have hidden costs although YMMV.

Garbage... There was a bunch of spoiled foods and other nasty stuff and it stewed in the dumpster for right around three weeks. So there were maggots, the stench and all that good stuff and the dumpster reeks so it's getting replaced.

Bills... The bills keep coming, but the mail doesn't necessarily get delivered to evacuation areas so getting stuff paid on time was a hassle.

There's ammunition, propane, gasoline and kerosene in some quantities and assorted other chemicals stored here that pose hazards for the firefighters, so we made sure they knew. I hated to say anything but it was the right thing to do.

I'm going to replace my PC with a laptop. It's a complete PITA to deal with a CPU for bugging out.

We need to buy ramps for the truck. I lost count of how many times I loaded and unloaded the truck and ramps would have been helpful. I'm getting too old for this.

Something that did work really well was having wheeled job boxes pre-packed with our bugout gear.

Oh yeah, there were looters. The lowest of the low taking advantage of others' misfortune. They were floating down the river past the NG checkpoints and then would hit the shore and rob the neighborhood.
There was also a number of lowlifes who actually burglarized their neighbors.

I'm going to go ahead and post this thread even though it's a pretty inadequate narrative. Hopefully if folks chime in, more information will develop and we can all learn some stuff.

I need help getting a few videos to load and will insert them here when I can >
 
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Inadequate? Dang, man, that's an ordeal just reading between the lines!
If you Paypal, please PM me your info and I'll send along something meager, enough to cover 1/2 a tank of gas or something. You didn't ask, but this is what we do, sharing burdens.
Great to know about the comms. I've been thinking about this, and the sticky thread has provided much good info.
I just pulled my camper out of storage and will see tomorrow if the mice made it a home.
Grrr on the low-life activity.
Stay safe.
 
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I have a terrible memory so all my bills get paid automatically via 'bill pay' at my credit union. My one credit card has an automatic minimum payment each month (like $25-$50 - whatever the CC company says is the minimum), but I pay the full amount manually. Mortgage, electricity, internet are the three monthly bills and they get paid without me having to remember. The rest (e.g., medical bills/etc. that come up) can usually wait until I get the bill and the time to pay them - I usually charge them to the CC, then pay that off.

Since I moved here I have done mods to the property to reduce fire danger; clear underbrush, thin trees (larger trees are more fire resistant than smaller trees, trees farther apart reduce chance of fire spreading), more distance between buildings and trees (while still having shade). Now with the back 10 acres clear cut, there is a barrier there that fire has to cross without fuel - I am aware that embers can blow for miles, but still...

When I retire I am going to take even more steps to mitigate the fire danger.
 

GOG

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I'll give it a try.

Like for instance, our friends have a flock of chickens that they free range that automatically go to their coop on their own in the evening. The folks were a wealth of information and it was also really excellent timing because I'd already been giving it serious thought. I think chickens are worth having so they're definitely in our future.

There were also a sweet two prong and a female white tail that ate from the apple tree where I sat and had morning coffee.
And wild turkeys running around everywhere looking ugly and delicious at the same time. ;)

There were four horses in the pasture next to the house but apparently my dog thinks they're dragons and need extermination with a zeal that would rival St. George.
*I kept her away from the horses, she's goofy enough without getting kicked in the head by an angry dragons hoof.

Every cloud has a silver lining and we remain grateful. :)

P.S. I'm going to attempt to upload three very short videos in the first post. I've got them made into zip files so I'm not sure.
 
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Your cautionary tale about looters reminds me of a conversation I had with a nice state trooper during our pack-up, to bug out during the '96 flood.

Bugging out sucks almost as much as being left with no other options. But you're obviously learning a lot from it.

I'm glad you folks are okay. The rest can be replaced.
That would suck too, but not as bad as reading about losing another member.
 
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GoG, it is sincerely appreciated that you took time out this period to address your circumstances as well as providing perceptions of items some haven’t even thought about in preparing for emergencies.

I, like others have expressed, am concerned about the tenacity those who are intent on looting property of evacuees and wonder if anything can be devised to mitigate their activities?
 
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Your cautionary tale about looters reminds me of a conversation I had with a nice state trooper during our pack-up, to bug out during the '96 flood.
Looters are a special breed. For example, back in '87, when flight 255 crashed on take-off at Detroit Metro, killing 154 of the 155 souls on board, the looting scum descended on the crash scene less than two hours later when it was dark.
 
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Looters are a special breed. For example, back in '87, when flight 255 crashed on take-off at Detroit Metro, killing 154 of the 155 souls on board, the looting scum descended on the crash scene less than two hours later when it was dark.
Yeah, that cop slammed on the brakes and whipped into my driveway when he saw me carrying rifles out to the car.
His approach once he was out of the car was business-friendly but cautious, one hand on his sidearm.
As he was coming around to the back of the car I was putting the last two rifles in the trunk, and I had quite a collection back then.
He asked why I was loading up the guns?
So I held up my Garand and asked if he wanted to face that on the street, should my house get looted while I was away.
He winced and said "No way."
And then he asked for my ID to verify that I lived at that address.

Overall it was a good interaction, but it started out kinda iffy.
I thanked him profusely before he left, and he promised they would be watching the neighborhood closely while the evac order was in effect.

To the best of my knowledge nobody's place got ripped off during the two days the order was in effect.
 
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I can relate to your story entirely since we too had been evacuated because of the Taylor Creek fire. One thing I can say is I found it moving that so many came to offer aid and all the people who offered their time and resources at their own significant personal expense. I was surprised at who came forward, but also who did not. It was great confirmation of who cares and who doesn't. You look at all the property things you collected over the years and were forced to choose what was most important, at the same time you find out which people in your life consider you a valuable asset and important in their lives. All good to know, but still it was great turmoil and life is still not back to normal yet.
 
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