How to Prepare for a Wildfire Evacuation

With all the active wildfires burning in California right now, and 2-3 months left of wildfire season, I decided to offer my thoughts on wildfire preparation. Some of you know that we are survivors of the 2018 Paradise Camp Fire. We lost our home in that fire and almost everything we owned. So, in such a time as this, here are my tips.

Things to do to prepare:

  • Take a video of the entire contents of your house, garage, outdoor structures, yard, trees, cars, etc… (I used my iPhone to take a video). If your insurance requires you to provide a complete inventory of your belongings a video will be very helpful
  • Back up your personal computer, store important photos digitally online in Shutterfly or another photo site or cloud storage like OneDrive, iCloud, Google Drive, or Dropbox.
  • Fill up your car with gas.

Pack bags:

  • Put all of your import documents like birth certificates, deeds, titles, social security cards, passports, and cash in one place near your bed or bedside table.
  • Pack a change of clothes and some toiletries and non-perishable snacks in a bag.
  • Put any medications and medical devices near the other grab-and-go bags.
  • Put your personal laptop computer and back-up hard drive here too.
  • Gather any sentimental, non-replaceable items you have in the same spot as well.

Things I was glad we had:

  • Each of my kiddos grabbed one stuffed animal that was a comfort to them in the weeks following the fire
  • 7 vintage handmade quilts
  • laptop & hard drive
  • important papers envelope (birth certificates, etc…)
  • My son’s prescription glasses

Things I lost in the fire that I wish I hadn’t:

  • my prescription glasses
  • my wedding ring
  • a necklace I wore at my wedding that I was going to give to my daughter
  • my grandmother’s broaches
  • my daughters white blankie that she needed to sleep
  • my family journal
  • my recipe collection
  • a hospital bracelet from an ectopic pregnancy

I wouldn’t wish the experience of losing one’s home in a wildfire on my worst enemy. It is a horrible experience that we continue to struggle with nearly 2 years later. If you are in a situation where you may need to evacuate, I hope you find my ideas useful.

Please pray for all those affected by wildfires and the brave first responders and firefighters who are trying to help.

Update: 9/9/20 – My husband says he’s loading up the bikes this time… just in case…

14 thoughts on “How to Prepare for a Wildfire Evacuation

  1. It is mind boggling that in less than 24 months since the Paradise fire your family has pushed forward so well. Starting your blog and sharing all of your new family memories has shown me your fortitude which holds my deepest admiration for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are many fires in Oregon right now. Thanks for sharing this. I shared it to my Facebook. It’s been hot, dry and windy there. Many areas have been evacuated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Rhonda.
      Yes, Oregon is having a rough fire season too! Sending prayers for everyone being affected by wildfires in Oregon and all parts of the world.
      It’s really really windy today… it’s making me nervous 😬


  3. This is something that has been on my mind since the last fire we had a mile from our house. Thank you for the preparation tips. It hurts my heart to see the things you miss. It’s probably difficult seeing all of the fires in CA for you right now after having gone through that experience. Sending some prayers your way today, friend ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. my ex-SIL just had to evacuate for one night in Medford. That was totally out of the blue. I haven’t heard the cause of that but I saw video taken. Not really a wildfire (brush fire or forest fire) but sort of an urban fire that was fueled by high winds. The good news is that she is back home . AND the people that bought their old house in Phoenix (Oregon) who were lost their home in Paradise do NOT lose their home.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Just read an article – guess the Medford/Ashland fire started as a brush fire near I-5 but the area it burned through was a lot of business and residential trailer parks. The pear orchards were spared. This fire, as well as other fires in Oregon, are possible arson.

    Liked by 1 person

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