Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The SHTF fire

The text fired across my screen: "anyone who can help evac, meet at Safeway @ 18:30"

This picture is on the way, hitting 80+mph as we sailed across town on a rescue mission. He is a group member, fellow employee and great friend and his brother lives 1/4 mile away from me, so we are all very close.

Obviously plenty of fuel for the fire. This area, Black Forest, is the only area away from the mountain that has a lot of tree's. I suppose at this point I can say that it did have a lot of tree's, not anymore. I took this picture and then we drove away a little bit. The structure in the lower right....
This picture has the same structure in it, we only moved 1/4 mile away in between the 2 pictures
This picture is from my friends driveway. He isn't in the tree's, he has defensible space, but there isn't much on the other side of his house to save. The fire was less than 1/4 mile away but it was moving slowly (in our direction anyhow), since the wind was blowing it North East.

I've been in a lot of situations before, including fighting forest fires. I feel, at times, I've lived several lifetimes of adventures. This was the first time our group had to react to something. Half of the group was working and couldn't get away but the core group was reacting. We had everything set for new living quarters but opted for the group bug out location.
Once we got everyone to safety, including the vehicles, I made sure to tell everyone there that it's just stuff and while it's going to suck and be painful if it's lost, the important stuff is out. Easier to say, but that's what it is, stuff.... even those old photo's and memories.

This morning I checked in with him, and he doesn't know if his house is still standing. He was in contact with a neighbor, across the street in the tree's that lost his house. There were bulldozers and air drops and hot sot crews, so we are holding out hope, I give it a 30% chance.

8000 acres, zero containment, 40+ structures lost.

I leave in the morning for some work about 2 hours away. We have to go the back way, another fire has the main road closed in that area, 3800 acres burned, zero containment. I'm leaving work early to get loaded up with all of my gear, more than usual.

When people laugh or give me crap, I'm going to show them one of those photo's and ask if they could be out of the house in 5 minutes and have everything they need. Do they have a group of people to call on that will not only take care of them once they evac, but be willing to drive into the danger to get them out.

People can make fun, call us crazy, but when SHTF for this family they were ready and so were we.


  1. Good point, Max. I hope others can learn from your example.

  2. Thanks for the update, I was wondering how that was working out.

    Although very real and I hope his home is still standing, this was a great exercise for all to learn from (especially those in your group).

    1. We learned a lot, it's always nice to know what works... and what doesn't.

  3. thank goodness that you have a group!!! and thank goodness everyone is safe. keep up the good work!

    your friend,

    1. Thanks, it was nice to put everything into play that we practice.

  4. Praying and sending good thoughts that all of you are safe and everything will be safe.
    That is the most fear producing photo I have ever seen, Max. I have only seen and fought small grass fires, they are frightening also.
    Please stay safe.

    1. Fire is very frightening, especially high wind forest fires!