Monday, May 11, 2015


Most of today there has been an out of control brushfire raging in my area. With a brisk tropical wind blowing plus plenty of dry fuel on the ground, such fires are taken seriously. They can easily end up burning hundreds, more often thousands of acres. 

First of all, the fire is not near our homestead farm, but it is near the seed farm. In fact, the seed farm is right in the fire's path. But that's not the issue that's on my mind. Being prepared and having a plan in place in advance is what I was thinking about. 

First....the seed farm. There's nothing there that would be much of a loss. The particular tools stored there can be easily replaced. While there is seed growing there right now, all the varieties can easily be restarted. Part of forethought was to limit how many seeds were planted at any one time. I always keep some seeds in reserve so that a crop failure won't wipe me out. Thus, if the seed farm burns, I'll just count my good fortune and be glad that I won't have to weed wack for the next couple of months. 
Above photo by Pamela Taylor. 

But what if a brushfire heads for one's home? Would I be prepared? And...prepared for what and in what fashion? I've lived in forest fire areas before, so much of the preparation comes naturally now. I can only hope that those folks living in the path of this brushfire were prepared. As of this time, the fire has burnt one home and 15 acres. No one has been hurt. Many, many homes have been evacuated. 

I've made it a habit to have much of my super important papers in one metal box that I can quickly grab and run. When it comes to bugging out, I'm not going to risk my life over artwork, jewelry, photos, mementos. My decision -- let it burn. 

My main concern will be our animals. When we lived in NJ, we had a forest fire come within one mile. Though the risk was low, we considered evacuating all the animals. No simple task, but we had prepared for this by storing a horse trailer on the property and having a shipping crate on hand for each animal. At the time I had numerous dogs and cats. Not only had we prepared for how to move the animals out, but also where they would go. I had an understanding with various friends as to where  my animals would stay until they could return to my place. We reciprocated of course, offering our small farm as refuge for their livestock if perchance they were in a fire risk themselves. 

So what about now, a homestead with livestock? Local custom here is to release small livestock, such as chickens and ducks so that they aren't trapped in their pens. Larger livestock is driven along the roads to safer pastures. Ranchers open pastures to give refuge to these evacuated animals until the fire risk has passed. Yes, I would release my birds. Rabbits would go into travel boxes for moving. Large livestock, once the police had secured the roadway, would be driven down to safe pasture. Our cats & dogs would be evacuated via our vehicles and be taken one direction or the other to friends' properties. 

I like to think that I have a plan already in place in my head. I've been going over the steps in my mind and believe that I am as prepared as I want to be. Well, maybe I could tweak a couple of things. I'll have to look into that. 

How about yourselves? 


  1. OK - twice I tried to comment. Boiled down: Be Prepared [old Boy Scout here]
    Hope the fires are gone!

    1. They were still dumping water onto hotspots yesterday. Around here a fire can smolder for days underground. The tally is one house completely destroyed, two damaged. All the water lines on the affected street were melted, so no one has water until they repair their own lines. Around 20-25 acres was burned.