A nearby forest fire required a mandatory evacuation of our home. We were allowed to return about 36 hours later because the fire moved away from our Colorado city of Manitou Springs. No damage was done to any house. The fire has burned 4500 acres so far. The expected containment date is July 16th, 20 days from now. Record temperatures (about 100 degrees F., 37.6 C.) are hindering the fire-fighting efforts. If you are interested try www.kktv.com for video and information about the fire. You will have to suffer some advertising.
We were very tired, but can you imagine the exhaustion of the (350-450) fire fighters. I admire their dedication.
When faced with evacuation, you have to make some quick decisions about what to take. We packed two SUVs to the roof. Clothing, medications, some food, computers, important paperwork, and money are standard. What do you have that is irreplaceable: momentos, photos, videos, family artifacts, art work, and anything else that represents a pivotal point in life.
I grabbed Who Shall Survive?, and an autographed book in which Carl Hollander had a chapter, several other autographed books, the construction drawings for our house and another set of important drawings, an ancestral chart, thousands of slides (I must get them transferred to CDs), several Native American fetishes and rugs, artwork of my son and grandchildren, a Mickey Mouse cup that I use for morning tea, a box of jumble that might hold something important (no time to check), and other things.
What did I forget? Keyboard and mouse for one computer. Passport. College and high school annuals. Some important audio recordings.
We were notified in the middle of the night, about 2:30 AM. Thinking in a panic without much sleep is difficult. What would you take? Are you prepared?
To see the flames and huge clouds of smoke from the forest fire provides a new perspective on life, especially when there is a chance your house can burn. Other natural disasters can cause the same responses. But these are nothing compared to the horror and damage of war.