Letter: California’s December Wildfires

Hello Hugh, As I write this, the Thomas Fire is still ravaging Ventura County, California. Three lessons need to be taken away: Gather your own intel, Be ready to go if it gets close, even if the threat seems remote; and, Live miles away from brushy or forested areas at risk of fire. This gives people more time to evacuate with more of their possessions, or at least have better comfort about the fire. The more information that is available allows people to make better decisions in real time, rather than wait until the water is so high they need …




Letter: Observations on the Fires in Canada

Hugh, I wanted to comment on the article about the folks fleeing the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Canada. I saw some classic SurvivalBlog themes in there: Keep your gas tanks full. The gas station owner noted that people were “fighting each other to get gas, growing more and more desperate as the afternoon wore on.” Keep your gas tanks full, (yes I’m repeating myself). Later on the writer notes people were abandoning their cars on the highway since they knew they wouldn’t have enough fuel to make it to their destination. Don’t be a refugee. The folks that went to …




Surviving the 2015 Fire of Lake County California- Part 2, by B.G.

Looters- Lessons Learned You don’t need to be an expert killer to deter an attacker. The people who loot an evacuated area are generally cowardly. You need only appear more of a threat than the average person. Buy a gun, learn to use it, but don’t obsess. The survivalist fantasy of defending your home against squads of organized killers is just that– fantasy. What is more realistic is that you will stumble into the opportunist that thinks “mandatory evacuation” means “no one is at home”. Encounters can happen any time. If you are staying, start carrying a gun shortly after …




Surviving the 2015 Fire of Lake County California- Part 1, by B.G.

This is a true story of a thirty-something survivalist/engineer and his family as well as some lessons learned in the second most destructive fire in California history. I had seen other large fires in Lake County over the years, and they would arrive in apocalyptic fashion, as the up swelling of a mushroom cloud. This one started no differently on a windy afternoon as I was pulling pork chops off of the grill. At about one o’clock in the afternoon, the wall of black smoke that erupted to our south immediately flattened out due to the wind. It formed an …




Wilderness Fire: An Unexpected Retreat From Our Retreat, by L.F.P.

We have a boat-in only glamorous camping (“glamping”) retreat on a large lake in the West on the very edge of Wilderness-designated public forest land. The nearest road is more than three miles away. We were there in early August on summer vacation from the city. Several small lightning-caused wilderness fires had been burning for more than a month during the ongoing drought conditions. These fires flared up in very rugged terrain due to a rare severe August windstorm with gusts above 60 mph. The smoke had started to get noticeable on the lake and light ash was raining down …




Letter Re: Lessons Learned

This article is not be representative of many insurance policies. I am a insurance agent. First, I am sorry they had to go through such a horrible tragedy. People need to remember insurance policies vary from state to state and policy to policy. For the policies that I manage, these are the issues that are different: First auto policies are not replacement cost. They are blue book value (aka NADA), less your deductible. You could very well end up upside down, meaning you could still be paying payments on a destroyed vehicle, where you owe more than it’s worth. The …




Letter Re: Fire Suppression

HJL, I’ve been thinking more and more about possible fire suppression methods (a.k.a. “Fire Traps”) for SHTF, and I was wondering if you ever considered pre-staging fire-retardant materials in high-risk areas. This is just a theory, but have you considered hanging or placing materials that would dispense fire retardant if an actual fire broke out? This could be something like a bag or bucket hanging in a tree, so when the fire hits it, it melts the bag and dispenses the material. I realize in SHTF scenarios, you neither have the resources to fight a huge forest fire nor even …




Home Fire Prevention and Firefighting , by P.T.H.

Her name was Dawn. The fire that took her life started in the living room directly below her bedroom and spread quickly. It followed her father up the stairs as he tried to rescue her, setting his clothes on fire as he went. He grabbed the doorknob to Dawn’s room. It was red hot. There was no longer life on the other side of that door. It was 0045, New Year’s Day, 1976. Things like this are never forgotten. The wounds never heal. Dealing with the loss of a loved one this way is horrible in itself. Having it happen …




Letter Re: An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure for TEOTWAWKI

James, K.M. in Ohio’s post “Ounce of Prevention…” warns that “If the needles are 1 per hole, that’s NOT Pine” is not true. The warning about Fir needles being toxic is valid, but there are one needle pines. The state tree of Nevada is the Single Leaf Pinyon, Pinus monophylla. It is found almost exclusively in The Great Basin with two subspecies in California and Arizona. Besides the needles being a source of vitamin C as with other pines, it produces nutritious and delicious pine nuts. (It also makes the perfectly shaped Christmas tree!) – David in Carson City, Nevada




Orange Jeep Dad’s House Fire Tragedy: How You Can Help

Many SurvivalBlog readers are familiar with the Orange Jeep Dad (OJD) blog. It is a great blog written by an X-ray technician prepper with a wife and six daughters. For more than two years, he’s been earnestly striving to live self-sufficiently. Two days ago, he posted about the tragedy of his house burning down. And today, he posted a follow-up. As I mentioned before, I doubt that his renter’s insurance will cover all of their losses, especially for things like storage food and ammo. In a recent e-mail, OJD mentioned these details: “For now, I for sure lost my Glock …




Second Chances, by Dirt Surgeon

Introductory Note: I originally composed this story in August of 2011 just months after our family went through a devastating event.  At the time of writing the essay was short, sweet and to the point.  I have reconstructed my family’s journey of the past 24 months to the present. Thanks for all that you and others do by sharing information, educating and inspiring the thought process. It is my hope that this short family history will provoke some to think about their lifestyle, what is important and the effect an event like this has on a family. Four years ago …




Letter Re: Lessons Learned from the Black Forest, Colorado Fire

Dear JWR; There is nothing like a real emergency to get you checked out in a quick way for your evacuation plan. During the Black Forest Fire, which began on June 11, 2013, at least 511 homeowners completely lost their homes, many more were damaged and are uninhabitable, two people and countless animals perished in the fire. Our family and business were in the direct path of the fire, but a major wind shift the first night, along with hard-working first responders saved us. Sitting at the office ready for our afternoon of work, a friend walked in and sid, …




Letter Re: Preparedness for Hazardous Chemical Spills

Dear Sir, I work as an firefighter/EMT and Hazardous Materials Tech in the Greater Louisville, Kentucky region. I would like to provide your readership with two examples of ‘stabilized’ emergencies going wrong in the last year in the Louisville area alone. Both could have been catastrophic had it not been for quick thinking and pure dumb luck. The first incident began in late October of last year when 11 cars of a 57-car Paducah and Louisville line (a CSX owned company) derailed in the southwest corner of Jefferson County, very near Fort Knox. The cars that derailed were carrying Butadiene …




Letter Re: Post-TEOTWAWKI Welding

James Wesley; I’m worried about keeping farm machinery operating, in a long-term TEOTWAWKI whammy. Some of my equipment is horse-drawn and a full century old. God forbid we go through a multi-generational scenario like you’ve talked about. How will we repair broken metal, or cast metal, or join metal (‘cept drilling and nuts and bolts)? Obviously arc welding is out, unless someone has a huge solar battery bank, and I’m not at that Pay Grade. (I live almost paycheck to paycheck, other than a seasonal bump when I sell hay each year.) And gas welding will be non-functional once the …




Traditional Skills: What Value are You to Other Preppers?, by Blacksmith Tom

Prepper communities and compounds rely on each members worth to their group, cooking, sewing, carpentry, leatherwork, gardening. There is one skill that cannot be over looked as one of the most valuable skills/trade for a prepper to possess.  Blacksmithing.  All other crafts and trades will require once again the skills of a blacksmith to replace stolen, broken tools.  In addition to making these tools a blacksmith can also make weapons, swords, axes, daggers, spears, arrow heads.  But how would one go about obtaining these skills?  Look in your local areas for classes offered, some community colleges are now offering blacksmithing …