Our Wildfire Evacuation, Part 5, by SoCal9mm

(Continued from Part 4. This installment concludes the article series.) OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT: Make sure you wait until the last moment to do your Christmas shopping – seriously, I never have to worry about “rescuing presents” when I procrastinate. Stupid “get-stuff-done-early”… Laundry – have enough clothes so that you don’t have to go commando next to the washer, waiting for your lone pair of choners to get clean. Trust me, not cool. Air – we worry about food, water, shelter, protection, etc., but we rarely worry about preps for air. Dust and ash are (relatively) easily removed from breathing air …




Our Wildfire Evacuation, Part 4, by SoCal9mm

(Continued from Part 3.) LESSONS LEARNED OR THINGS THAT WORKED OK: Priorities – again, having a to-do list for the day really helped us, even one that we just made up on the fly. I really wanted to ensure there was no firearm left in the house, and I really wanted to get the flammable materials out of the shed. We took the diesel cans with us, and we left the propane tanks in front of the house at the street (per fire department recommendations). We really wanted to clear our fridge before everything spoiled, which would have ruined it. …




Our Wildfire Evacuation, Part 3, by SoCal9mm

(Continued from Part 2.) OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT:  Radios – both Motorola radios AND handheld ham radios were left behind that would have helped us stay in contact between our 2 cars. Cell phones worked (thankfully), but I noticed bad connections nearly every call. NOTE: if we had a better means of communication, W. could have taken her car to the other neighborhood exit to see if traffic was flowing better and reported back to me to either follow her or stay where I was (oh well, hindsight and all that). Scanners, or even scanner apps – having access to information …




Our Wildfire Evacuation, Part 2, by SoCal9mm

(Continued from Part 1.) So we put this plan together on paper, that’s all that we needed to do, right? Um, no. Practicing an evacuation drill is probably at least as important as having an evacuation plan. After I had revised our plan into the checklist format, I knew that we needed to practice it to see if the timeframes were correct (i.e., could we actually do all the stuff that I’d written down on the 1-minute checklist in 1 minute?). Shortly after the Tubbs Fire (in October, 2017) we did a walk-through of the house and pointed out all …




Our Wildfire Evacuation, Part 1, by SoCal9mm

Editor’s Introductory Note:  At nearly 10,000 words, this is one of the longest multi-part articles ever to appear in SurvivalBlog. It will be presented in five parts, concluding on Saturday. Despite its length, this is some fascinating and detailed reading. The author’s insights and “lessons learned” are quite valuable, and they go far beyond just the particular concerns of wildfire evacuation. — On the evening of December 4, 2017, the Thomas Fire started in Ventura County, California. By the time it was over, about 440 square miles had burned across Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties, more than 1,000 structures were …




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 Re: Fireproof Safes

Hugh: I did some consulting for a well-known gun safe manufacturer. They make a premium product, and their clients never suffered loss due to either break-in or fire damage. The only heat resistant insulation they used was common sheetrock. They used multiple layers with offset corners and edges, similar to the wall between living space and garage in a modern home. They did not tape or use any mud, just a snug fit. It seems reasonable that the heat resistance of an ordinary inexpensive safe could be enhanced by fabricating a welded enclosure insulated with sheetrock and inserting the safe …




Guest Article: Lessons Learned From The Pioneer Fire 2016, by Tanker Jack

This all happened within our first month into our relocation to the Redoubt. To start off correctly, we must give you a little background on our family. I was a retired Army tanker ( for 20 years), then in 2009 we started our next career as a government employee with Corp of Engineers and the Navy. Chasing promotions had us moving every two years, taking several jobs with the purpose of climbing the corporate ladder as fast as possible. Then the “come to Jesus” moment” that turned us into the preppers we are today happened. The Kentucky ice storm of …




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 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 …




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 …




Loss Prevention for Your Long Term Retreat or Bug-In Location, by Manatee

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For the preparedness minded individual, this old cliche couldn’t be more important. In my primary profession in the insurance industry, I observe on a regular basis all sorts of damage that happens to people’s homes. Today, there are ample available supplies to repair damage, contractors to complete repairs, and insurance coverage to help cover the costs. Tomorrow, we may not be so lucky. This is where our “ounce of prevention” comes into play. Whether you are preparing to live through a short-term event, a natural disaster, a grid-down event, or …




Letter Re: A Dual Ring Village

Mr Rawles, thank you for the service you provide. A comment on the dual ring village concept. If it is advanced as a defense tactic, I would urge remembering that the walled-town versus siegecraft dynamic is thousands of years old, and the survival of walled towns and cities is only possible if they are: 1. Provisioned to last longer than the besieging force, which is of course free to forage and be resupplied 2. Fireproof 3. Relieved by a friendly force from outside. They are also utterly obsolete since the development of artillery bombardment, still more so since the airplane …




Odds And Ends That You Won’t Want To Be Without, by Sonny Jim

I believe in having all the “big” things, to prepare for the possible breakdown of civil society.   I have a large home outside of a small mid-west town, and expect 12 people to arrive to hunker down, if things do fall apart.  I need to be able to feed and supply of them, perhaps for years. So I have 1,200 gallons of Kerosene.  This is intended for heating the home for 3 winters, and I have 3 Kerosene heaters to do the job.  The Kerosene is stored in in 3 large 330 gallon plastic totes, half buried in my back …




From David in Israel: Off Grid Alternatives to Utility-Supplied Electricity

James One of the most troubling things I see when speaking to people about going off grid is how badly they want to keep all of their electrical appliances and just spend many thousands of dollars on a battery bank more appropriate for a U-boat and solar cells or generators to keep them topped off. Having had a minor role in a micro-satellite system design proposal one thing you learn when confronted by limited power supply is to either economize or do without. The appliances you own for on grid use are not efficient. They are built to be inexpensive …