In high school my best girlfriends and I had sleepovers every chance we could get. We'd stay up until the wee hours of the morning asking each other questions like the one that has been on my mind all week. If your house was on fire and you had to chose three things to rescue, assuming all persons and pets are out, what would they be?
3 things I'd rescue in case of fire
1. I have scrapbooks, but my parents have my baby books, everything else is somewhat digitized and exists on my laptop. So, my first thing becomes a laptop rather than a stack of old pictures, but of course I had to grab the laptop charger as well!
2. My puffalump. Yup, the yellow bunny that resides on my bed to this day. This is truly irreplaceable and I've probably had it since I was 6 or 7.
3. Here's where we get into territory that is gray. I bought renters insurance this year for the first time in my 12 years of renting because we had such a hot, dry winter. It paid off when my car was stolen a few weeks later and my car insurance refused to cover the stuff inside my car, which added up to about $1200 worth of items since I had my skis and boots in it. I'm very aware that my renters insurance is mostly to pay for the building itself, should I be personally responsible for some act like a toilet leak that ruins everyone's units in my 8-unit condo. I'm covered up the wazoo for that sort of thing. What I am scantily covered for is my actual stuff. They didn't leave much room for me to get large coverage on stuff. I've got $10,000 of "stuff" coverage. I'm sure my landlord's homeowners might kick in to help, but I am going on only what I know to be true. $10,000 sounds like a lot of money, until you start adding things up. Couches, piano, TV, six stringed instruments, PS3, bed, dresser, bookshelves, CLOTHES, SHOES, JACKETS, CAMPING GEAR, SKI GEAR, Oh My!!!! If I had $1200 worth of stuff in my car, certainly Dave and I have way more than $10,000 worth of stuff when considering replacement costs.
Last weekend I was in my cousins's wedding while Dave was in his brother's in two different states. I returned Sunday. Dave had been out of town for a long time before that, so Tuesday morning he returned to Colorado for the first time in two weeks. He flew in and enjoyed the 85 degree condo I had prepared for him after several days of 100+ degrees, no rain, and no air conditioning. In the early afternoon our neighbor knocks on our door and says, "Have you seen the fire?" We walk together around to the back of our unit and look up to see a huge plume of smoke coming from behind the mountain that leads to the ridge that we live on. We broke out the camera and the binoculars and parked ourselves in our backyard for the rest of the day to watch this thing evolve in the winds. It was started by a lightning strike. It lit up quickly due to crispy-dry conditions and winds. Unlike other fires in the state, ours was not fueled by beetle kill trees, just dry conditions, as far as I'm aware.
|Fire beginnings. These were taken from the back of my condo.|
|This is when the fire spread from back behind the mountain to the mountain. Thanks, wind.|
|This is about when we got our pre-evacuation notice. We decided to start packing a few things.|
We waited. It was smokey. We had little food in the house from being between trips so we went out for food, taking our most prized possessions with us. We've both heard horror stories about people being evacuated while they are away from their homes, so they try to go and get their pets or things out and the road blocks won't let them back in. If this was going to happen, we'd at least have our main things. (Screw the goldfish!)
I have a hard time functioning on bad sleep, smoke-induced wake ups, and indoor temperatures ranging from 80-90. I have air conditioning at work, but didn't want to leave in case we had to be evacuated, I wanted a chance at getting my stuff out. Plus, I wanted to walk out back and look at this thing once an hour. Also, there's no running or working out of any sort going on. The only thing I've done is a few laps on the pool. This has all lead to a sour mood. I don't know how the people who actually got evacuated or lost their homes in the big fires (High Park and Waldo Canyon) are functioning. I wish them the best.
I'd also like to thank our friends and family for their outpouring of support. Within minutes of our pre-evac notice, I had offers from four people for a place to sleep! I can't express how much this calmed us, knowing we had a place to go that would feel like home. Others called to check in and sent messages of well wishes. This means so much! Thanks to all!
Here's a timelapse that someone else made of the fire near my house. This is looking south, so my place is at the bottom of the mountain that's on fire, to the left of the mountain. It is worth watching this the full way through because it shows some neat night flare ups later in the timelapse.
Boulder's Flagstaff Fire - Timelapse from Dustin Henderlong on Vimeo.
By Dustin Henderlong
Why so many fires? A dry winter combined with a heat wave really made us vulnerable to dry thunderstorms (thunderstorms with wind and lightning, but rain that mostly evaporates before hitting the surface, which we call virga).
|Thanks to the NWS for putting this together. This doesn't show precipitation, but trust me. It was DRY!|