Fire on the Mountain….is it time to bug out?

This is a guest post by AZ Rookie Prepper

[This is an entry in our non-fiction writing contest where you could win a number of prizes including an 84 serving storage bucket of Wise Food Storage, 500 rounds of 9mm ammo, a NukAlert  a copy of my book The Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat and a copy of my CD It’s The End Of The World As We Know It – And I Feel Fine . For complete rules and list of prizes see this post.]

On the 12th of June, right on the U.S. – Mexico border, a fire started in a remote portion of the Coronado National Monument, Cochise County, Arizona. Fanned by high winds and fueled by drought stricken grass, brush and trees, it quickly grew to 3000 acres in just a few hours. Heading north-northeast, it expanded up and down the Huachuca Mountains, engulfing terrain as varied as grasslands at the lower elevations, 4000 feet, through oak woods between 5500-6500 feet, to Ponderosa and Apache Pine at the higher elevations up to 9200 feet. The BIG problem was it was heading right for Hereford Arizona and Sierra Vista, Arizona, a community of approximately 50,000 people, just 12 or so miles away.

Lets set the stage here. Last February, this area had a record breaking freeze that killed many plants and trees that would normally never have to endure such cold. The region has only had less than an inch of rain since the 10th of September 2010. Moisture content of the flora was measured in single digits; it was a disaster waiting to happen. The Coronado National Monument along with the other federal and state lands in this vicinity were all closed to all visitors. No person or vehicle was supposed to be there. This area is known as a high volume route for human and drug smugglers coming out of Mexico. Putting two and two together, its not too hard to figure out that on a bright sunny day, at 1:00 p.m. in the afternoon, with nary a cloud in the sky, this did not happen by natural causes….

By the time the main fire had been mostly contained nine days later, approximately 65 homes, businesses and other structures had burned along with about 30,000 acres. What should make everyone here take notice is that between 10,000 and 12,000 people had to evacuate their homes and businesses, sometimes fleeing with just minutes to spare to get out of the way of the smoke and flames. I have always said that I’m going to “bug-in” if TSHTF, but I’ve had to reconsider that since the 12th of June. I’m more than willing and capable of standing my ground and defending my turf when it comes to the golden horde or mutant sodomizing zombies….but a wall of 40 foot flames rushing me? Hmmm…I think I need to reconsider this bugging out concept a little more.

Quite a few folks here were given no time whatsoever to evacuate, the flames moved that quickly. Many thousands more were put on pre-evacuation notice by the local sheriffs department. Those in the pre-evacuation and evacuation zones were warned, if told to leave and they did not, very likely no one would come to their rescue because it was that dangerous.

In the aftermath, I decided to do a lessons learned for myself and share it with you. This may apply, it may not, but I hope all of you can take some knowledge from this.

Lesson One. No possession is worth your life in this type of situation. You and your family are invaluable, everything else can be replaced.

Lesson Two. If you are in a pre-evacuation zone, do not hesitate. If you don’t have a place to go to, call ahead and reserve a storage facility and hotel rooms. Start moving stuff NOW. You may be able to make several trips before not being allowed back to your property. Always have a BOB ready. Have an evacuation plan that includes “What” goes and what stays, “Who” gets what items, “Where” you will meet up, “How” to communicate with each other, “How to get from home to evac location, “When” to leave and when to link up. Be prepared to change your evacuation plan. Sometimes spouses suddenly decide that something is too valuable to leave behind. Include as part of your plan a method of evacuating pets and livestock. There is nothing more pitiable than seeing and smelling helpless animals that survive a severe burn.

Lesson Three. Prepare your property. Soaker hoses, sprinklers, or even bucket brigades can be used to soak down the roof and sides of your buildings. Defensible space is important. Remove debris and burnable plants from next to the buildings and your propane tank.

Pay close attention to the areas where wind would accumulate leaves etc, the fire generates its own winds that will follow those same patterns and deposit burning materials right where you raked up all those leaves last fall. The homes where the occupants paid attention to maintaining their yards were much more likely to survive the fire than those that did not.

Close the valves on your propane tanks or consider shutting off your gas main (if the local gas company doesn’t do it for you). Move patio furniture, wind chimes, bird feeders etc indoors. This will prevent these items from becoming additional fuel or wind driven projectiles.

Windows tend to crack, break or even completely shatter in the heat of fires, even if that fire is not directly adjacent to the building. This allows burning embers to enter the home. Tape those windows or use shutters, metal or (last resort) wood to cover them. Valuables that must be left behind might survive a fire if placed in the oven, fridge or freezer. All of this is dependant upon having time of course.

Lesson Four. Be patient. All the time you are getting ready to move out, you could be subjected to tremendous amounts of smoke and ash falling on you and your family. Firefighting aircraft might well be zooming overhead. Fire trucks and other emergency vehicles could be parked right in your way.

The actual evacuation movement may involve traveling bumper to bumper with a lot of other people who also want to get out of there. Many will be frightened and stressed. Other folks will be doing 60 m.p.h. in a 25 m.p.h. zone. Low slung passenger sedans will be used like monster off-road trucks. People panic. Keep an eye on the kids, if unsupervised or with panicking adults, they’ll be the worst.

Lesson Five. Be prepared to help others. Think about your 70 year old neighbor trying to load her overweight dog into the car. How about the kids left at home while the parents went to work in the morning and they cannot get through the roadblocks to pick up their kids. Those firefighters working to save your property could probably use some ice, cool drinks, lip balm, clean socks, foot powder, food. The law enforcement officers trying to keep order in this mess have little or no time for meals or to run to the local convenience store for something to drink also.

Lesson Six. Be prepared to wait. Some evacuees here had to stay away from their homes for up to twelve days. All that time there was no electricity in their homes, so when they returned, it was to the smell of rotten food in their fridge and freezer. While their homes had not burned from the fire, phone lines, electric lines, cable lines did. Most had no gas service too. It might take awhile to get your services returned.

Lesson Seven. Be ready for criminals. Quite a few stories from people I trust involved seeing trucks driven by nefarious people, moving slowly, looking to see which houses had been evacuated. One guy was loading his trailer, a neighbor asked him to come over to help him with something. While next door, he watched a truck drive up his road, back up in his driveway and attempt to hook his trailer up. When confronted, the occupants of the truck quickly left the scene. After the evacuation orders were lifted, the scam artists start coming out, trying to “help” you with your damaged property. Only deal with reputable businesses or those you know.

Lesson Eight. Be ready for floods. After the fire is out, the ground has lost its natural cover that soaks up the rain. Here in the desert, the ground doesn’t absorb much to begin with, so all that water, no longer impeded by grass/brush etc. flows much more quickly across the landscape.

Lesson Nine. Community, prayer and luck will be the saving graces in pulling through a SHTF event like this. Cochise County, Hereford Arizona, Sierra Vista Arizona, and Palominas Arizona have pulled together and truly come through an unprecedented (in this area) disaster. A lot of people worked extremely hard to limit the damage that occurred and to help each other get through this.

While this fire might not be the definition of TEOTWAWKI to you, it does have applicable lessons for many of us. I am sure I missed some key elements, but these are the ones that have struck the strongest chords within me. All comments are welcome. What else would you do if this was to occur in your neck of the woods?

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of TheSurvivalistBlog.net. He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.

Comments

  1. STL Grandma says:

    I really enjoyed that article. You make a lot of very good points that we should all consider carefully. While I also prefer bugging in for the zombie hoards scenarios, the BoB is in the hall closet, next to the front door.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      STL Grandma, glad you enjoyed it. Good for you on the BoB. Keep prepping!

  2. Lake Lili says:

    Superbly written and extremely informative and useful… most of this would also apply to those being flooded out… Living in a rural village made up of hundred year old chreosote painted houses, situated amongst mature oaks and fir trees, 15 miles from the closest fire truck (on a good day with no tourists clogging the only bridge), fire is our worst fear because we know that there will be nothing to come back to.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Lake Lili, thank you for the compliments. Flooding was in my mind while I wrote this, but I wanted to keep it to the subject that I had personally experienced. Hope your village stays safe!

  3. Alex (Ontario, Canada) says:

    Perhaps if the fire is still a fair distance away, you could take flammable garbage like leaves and burn them prematurely so they do not provide fuel for the fire?

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Its so dry here Alex from Ontario, that any fire would be risky. I could also see a lot of panicky folks calling the fire department if they saw some smoke nearby….

  4. Givemeliberty says:

    Thanks for your post–very worth my time, I thought.

    I have wondered lately if God is allowing some of these catastrophes to happen around our country so that people can re-learn that, with some help from neighbors and friends, they can do a lot without help from Big Brother. Maybe a positive thing that will come from all the tragedies this spring/summer will be that power will devolve downward.

    • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

      That’s how I try to look at these disasters, too. These are all learning experiences for those who survive, so when things get worse we’ll be better prepared.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Givemeliberty, some interesting points you make. I would tell you, there were 10 federal agencies involved in fighting this fire, along with local/county and out of town fire depts and law enforcement personnel. City and county officials, along with a LOT of volunteer help from the community really all worked together to help those that needed it. Power devolving downward would certainly be something I would applaud.

  5. AZ Prepper you are so so right. Get the hell out before the firestorm gets there.
    I was in the same situation a couple of years ago in the giant Panarama fire. It started on the other side of the mts from me with the wind blowing north to south. Santa Ana winds. Anyone that has lived here long knows those winds always shift sooner or later and start blowing off the ocean south to north. The day it started we rented a trailer and started loading it. 5 days later it had started burning on the desert side of the mts. 2 days after that the mandatory evac order was only a mile from me. The ash and smoke was so bad you couldnt see. Thanks to all the heroic work by the men and women fighting it they stopped it at the aquaduct and we didn’t have to leave.
    I must say that friends and neighbors started treating me with a lot more respect after making that call. Including my DH. He no longer argues with me when I say jump on something.
    Great article about being prepared for the worst.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Thanks Judith. Isnt it amazing how experience will change a person? I too applaud the firefighters for their truly heroic efforts made all over this country.

  6. Good post. I would also ensure that your home is adequately insured against as much as possible. Recently some severe tornadoes ripped through my area in Massachusetts and destroyed hundreds of acres of forest land, trailers and homes. Some of these owners were not insured and have lost everything.
    We are insured but didn’t know if “wind damage” included tornadoes since we don’t usually have them here in our state, although we do have the occasional hurricane. We checked with our insurance company and yes, we’re covered. We also ensured that double the full replacement value is there because it would cost more to re-build now as opposed to 7 years ago when we constructed our log home.

    House insurance is well worth the annual premium(for us, under $1,000.00)

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Lynda, excellent point about insurance. Thanks for the reminder.

      • Rookie, ‘welcome! Of course this wouldn’t apply if TSHTF but is necessary otherwise. If you get a chance check out the pictures available on-line about the MA tornado. We never think it could happen so close to home and hasn’t since 1953 with the Worcester hurricane.

        Again, great post.

        • Barbara says:

          Lynda,
          Good to know I am not the only one from Massachusetts on this site. I hope you didn’t have too much damage to your property.

        • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

          Lynda, I am happy to read your comments. Each of us has different things to consider, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, fires, earthquakes…in addition to economic collapse, nuke disasters, war, etc. TSHTF and TEOTWAWKI means different things to different people, it could be a completely personal disaster such as a single home burning down or losing a job. It could be a local or regional event, such as what happened here or Hurrican Katrina. Or it could be a national or world event such as the earthquake/nuke disaster in Japan. No area is completely safe from “It cant happen here”…..Again, thanks for the comments, hope all who read this will contribute their personal experiences.

  7. axelsteve says:

    Fortunatlly my part of California a fire like that is highly unlikly but fire can still be a problem so this article is still very valid. maybe get a hi pressure pump hooked up to a well and have a gas powered pump to soak up your property if you live in an area like that.or a pool with said pump.I would have a solar or electrical backup powering the pump in case you lose power during fire. Steve

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      axelsteve, Some folks here had precisely the problem you point out. They were still some distance from the fire, using their well water to soak things down, then the power went out….ergo, no water. I dont have statistics on how many of them lost their property, but a little insurance (gas powered pump) could help a lot.

  8. Great post. It made me think of the situation I’m in (re-think). I’ve always planned to Bug-in if the SHTF but fire and flood have they’re own special set of problems to deal with. I try to keep a fire-line around my house,barns and other outbuildings. If I can’t literally “cut” a line,I set a traveling sprinkler in motion to make a green-belt around the structures. Problem with that is ,currently we’re in a severe drought here in the Tx Hill country, along with the rugged terrain to deal with.
    I hope everyone reading your post takes it to heart and take steps to “prepare” for the contingency of FIRE.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Dubya, I know some Hill Country folk, and like you, they worry about and prep to deal with fire. As you said, with the kind of terrain you are in along with drought, makes it tough. But that Hill Country breeds tough people too. Keep with it!

  9. AZ,
    A lot of good advice here, which should be common sense; however we live in an era where common sense is all too uncommon. I have always divided up bug out scenarios into 4 broad categories: TSHTF, Immediate danger, Instant disaster, and horizon disaster. There are probably better terms for these, but they are basically meant to define problems in order to plan for them.

    TSHTF (aka Mutant Zombie Bike invasion) – This is the true Mad Max scenario where you may have to defend the homestead from a lawless gang or group of individuals who think you have stuff and want it. From my perspective, if you have thought about this at all and have the tools and training, then you don’t bug out, but stand your ground. I’ve read comments from some folks, who plan to abandon the retreat and then fight to take it back, a situation I find not all that well thought out. If you have a retreat that is well stocked and have the tools tactics and training to defend it, and the MZB’s are powerful enough to overwhelm you and force you to bug out, then what would make you think that that same group of MZB’s who are now well stocked and even more well armed, could be assaulted with the meager things with which you bugged out. This is the one scenario where I intend to stand my ground.

    Immediate danger – This is a short term bug out scenario where you are awakened in the middle of the night by local emergency officials telling you that a factory or truck has leaked a noxious chemical, it is coming your way, and you have 5 minutes to get your stuff & get out. The basic BOB here should contain a change or two of clothing (since you’re likely still in your pajamas), snacks, medications, and perhaps reading materials. This is also a good time to have good friends or a valid credit card that is not maxed out, because a night on a friends couch or floor or in the local Motel 6 is probably better than a school gymnasium on a cot.

    Instant disaster – This category would include things like earthquakes and tornados which essentially come out of nowhere, strike, and are gone. Assuming you’ve survived, your BOB or car kit may be all you have left. These scenarios can leave you anywhere from homeless to utility-less, so plan accordingly. This could be the situation where you need that INCH bag that includes originals or copies of important documents, etc.

    Horizon disaster – This is one like the article discusses or perhaps a hurricane, where you can see it on the horizon, but are not sure of the path or whether or not it would affect you. I won’t go into any detail here because AZ hits it pretty well. This could realistically be the place where you would need an INCH bag instead of a BOB, so plan accordingly, and plan early.

    AZ learned in this situation, something that war planners have known for a long time that a even a perfect plan generally never survives a real battle. You must be flexible, learn from your mistakes, and constantly think about those “what if” scenarios. No plan is going to ever be perfect for all situations, but everyone should start with a plan, and then be willing to tweak it as you find issues or better ways of doing things. Keep in mind also that Hope and Faith while valuable are not plans.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      O.P., great thought has obviously gone into your comments. Thanks for the lucid exlanations. I’m going to re-read your post and start adapting your thoughts to my situation here. Thanks!

      • AZ,
        Your situation and those similar (like Katrina) are kind of my worst nightmare scenarios. The fact that you have time to think about the upcoming problem is a double edged sword. Unlike that knock on the door in the middle of the night you have time to think things through and pack more than a simple bag (like a truck & trailer); however, also unlike that scenario, you could literally be carrying everything with you with potentially nothing left to come back to, making your decision process contain not only logic, but more emotion than you would like to have. One of the other posts talked about color coded boxes with prep items prioritized base on time and cargo space, and this makes a lot of sense. The problem with any of these situations is that most of us don’t live our lives out of boxes, and in a scenario where we could lose everything we leave behind, the take or leave list and the priority of loading the stuff needs to be thoroughly thought out well in advance. From the jewelry you wear, to those kids photos tacked to the fridge with a magnet, and a hundred other things we use in our daily lives, there will be a lot we leave behind, perhaps to be forever lost. This is why we NEED a plan.
        Finally, unless you have a small amount of “stuff” there are likely to be things you’ve forgotten until perhaps years later when you need something and remember that you used to have it. This is why I recommend a photo inventory of your whole homestead. Digital cameras are cheap, and these photos will not only help you remember what you have, but provide proof to the insurance company in the event of a loss.

        • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

          O.P., ahh….one of the things I meant to put into the post and forgot…digital camera photos of your possessions to use in the aftermath if you should lose your home. Insurance companies like to know that you aren’t “padding” the bill. Good catch!

  10. "Big Jim" says:

    AZ Rookie , this was a good thought provoking article ! One that I have often pondered myself. With the weather acting crazy all over the place
    one needs to be ready for all scenarios , as much as possible anyway!
    I would like to ask you ,how close you are to the los alamos nuclear lab
    that might cause a threat of questionable strength… Take care and God
    speed !
    Also prayers for the nebraska folks dealing with their own nuclear threat because of flooding….Can anyone say that their ever fully preparred for all that befalls us ! We can only try and do our best and pray were able to deal with any future event catastrophies !

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Big Jim, I am quite a ways west of Los Alamos, thanks for the concern. A lot of people live near enough to that potential disaster that they’ll need all the prayers and hard work possible to avoid some real problems. Nebraska too. Lets all keep them in mind when we do our prayers.

  11. riverrider says:

    good post, follows my thoughts of late. while building this house there was a forrest fire a few miles away that choked us with smoke for days. i watched the wind patterns and saw that it came thru a pass in the mountain and hit our ridge, funneling any flames directly my way. i put it out of my mind until the last few weeks, as the rain usually cuts off about now til october. couple years ago the fire threatened a gasoline tank farm a few miles away. it was beaten back in the nick of time. the fireman i talked to said if it hit those tanks, they’d have to pull back behind me. i would be between the fire and firemen. got me thinking. problem getting organized tho, since my plan was bug in. i’m in the planning stage of color coding my prep in red, yellow and green boxes. red goes on the truck 1st and so on. if pre shtf, i think just bare basics. if post, i’ll have to be able to sustain with what we get out. so, do i load the superpails first? or the cases of #10 cans? or the regular canned food? gunss/ammo? i ‘m waiting for that bolt of lightening inspiration that i get sometimed to help me out, but its taking longer than normal:)

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      riverrider, Wow…and I thought I was in jeopardy. Maybe when that lightning bolt of inspiration hits, you could do a guest post on how you plan to deal with your particular situation? I’ld be interested in reading it. I always get so many good ideas from other folks here that I never seem to be able to implement them all…LOL.

      • riverrider says:

        ain’t that the truth. mark one thing off, add six more.

      • riverrider says:

        small spark of inspiration….the tanks should be empty in short order in a post shtf fire. still a danger, but i should be out of range of the explosions. as far as a large forrest fire we’re looking for a small acreage fallback location. problem is all locations so far are in fire zones too. don’t get me wrong, large fires are very rare here. without firefighters tho any fire could become large enough to threaten. i found some gel stuff you spray on the house or anything for that matter and it protects it until it washes off. same stuff in baby diapers, it absorbs the water and shields the surface from the flames/heat. i have a metal roof. i could cut the trees back a ways. my decks are wood tho. i could put sand on top maybe? ….i plan to berm sand up the sides of the house on tshtf plus one for bullet resistance anyway. guess that helps. small sparks, maybe a bolt later…

        • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

          riverrider, some good ideas there. I have a gravelled yard, except where I’ve put in gardening areas. My plan was to rake that gravel up against the sides of the house (brick structure). In a post SHTF scenario, then I have most of my yard to convert to additional gardening area, plus the additional protection. I’ve seen ad’s lately (the “take advantage of the disaster” type ads) for that gel you’re talking about. Didnt see a price, but I imagine its expensive. Not sure if I’ll do that or not, probably not. Keep those small sparks going, maybe write a full article…

  12. Judy Williams says:

    Big Jim u hit nail on the head.I loved your post.
    Lesson 1…save my butt that is my responsibility.
    Lesson 2…Now is the time to have a storage shelter STOCKED I also have a trailer in the boons stocked.I have had a fire a flood and a hurricane..they were great teachers.It is too late when the train is coming at your head.
    Lesson 3 I took an emergency management course in town and it covered all a homeowner needs to do in many emergencies.It was free.
    Lesson 4 Do it now,have a back up to your back up plan and make it funRemember Action is the magic word.
    Lesson 5…Save my you know what first and then if possible ALWAYS lend a helping hand REMEMBER they could hurt you.
    Lesson 6 A concern if you are dependent on the city.Practice now how to do with out IT IS SO FREEING.
    lESSON 7 TRUST NO ONE and hide your supplies
    Lesson 8..I hve a rowboat.a canoe and a dingy,and when I prepped I have a 3 story structure.Geographics play a role in what your area is prone to.Mother Nature also does what she wants.
    Lesson 9 ..Like minded people a must, trust no one,when people are hungry they will kill for food.Fire extinguishers and fire ladders and a good walk around and through your living quaters is a must.

    I am so grateful for your article because it made me see how far I have come in this self suffiency journey.I am blessed.I remember when I started how over whelemed I was.GOD IS SO GOOD.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Judie Williams, I have to agree with you on your response to lesson 5 how we must remember that others can hurt you. Good point. Your comment on lesson seven is also so true, I am currently working towards that “freedom”, a little at a time.

      • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

        Judie Williams, I just re-read my reply to your comments, I meant to say how true on your comment on lesson 6, work toward independence from city utilities. But ALL of your comments were spot on. Thanks.

  13. Auntie_Em says:

    AZ Prepper—excellent article. Great advice and insight that you have shared, here. I live in southern AZ and watched on local news as all of this unfolded. Even if we aren’t in imminent danger or fire, there are still things we can do “just in case”. Though I live in an urban area—our neightborhood is full of folks who are fireworks freaks—and shoot off fireworks for any holiday—any reason. Now that temps are over 110 and weeds/ shrubs/trees/cacti are even dryer that they were 3 weeks ago—I am sure these nimrods will be shooting off fireworks here on the 4th…and I hope they don’t set this neighborhood on fire!

    But your article hits home that I still need to do some serious “what if” planning ASAP.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Auntie Em, I know exactly the type of “nimrods” you are talking about. I heard that Tucson city police are going to try to prevent fireworks from being set off…but in a city that size, tough to do. Other locales will have it even tougher. Its crazy how stupid some people can be, never thinking beyond their self indulgences and expecting others to bail them out when they mess something up. The problem really arises when others suffer from the nimrods mistakes. Lets keep our fingers eyes and toes crossed we dont get any more fires before the monsoon comes.

    • Auantie Em, 4th of July will see us with sprinklers set up on the roof and all the hoses set up. We also stay outside till late and call in bottle rockets to the fire dept. They are great about finding the culprits and busting them. The helecopter helps also.

      • Auntie_Em says:

        Judith, Kudos! You are doing the right thing keeping an eye (and sprinklers) on your house and keeping track of activities in your neighborhood. I should probably check on things on my block too, on the 4th. I never found out who my “nimrods” were, but I am curious!

  14. Good article , but as they say ” shit happens ” . I grew up in cochise county and know it like the back of my hand . Things like that happen but not very often there . A lot of fantastic BOLs in cochise county if your a local and know the old west history in that area . In a SHTF situation , while most of the zombies in the state are heading north , I’ll be heading south . Cochise county has some very good remote areas you can support yourself that will be highly unlikely you will be disturbed . The fire is bad but being from there , I bet the locals aren’t overly concerned about it . Siera Vista was and is in existence because of Ft. Hachuka . Most are transplants like in Tucson or Phoenix that really dont understand the ” cold desert ” . Of topic but there is a site called http://www.ghosttowns.com , its for the entire US but goes state by state , in AZ you may find it an interesting read as there are many that are very difficult to get to with a vehicle and on foot only for some of them . Why am I telling you this ? use your imagination .

    • AZ rookie prepper , being in AZ , I feel compelled to share this with you . Do some research on the indian wars and Apache sub tribes , these were semi nomadic people that lived off the land . They chose certain areas to hang out in and raid from for a reason . Im not talking about modern reservations as they are now but where they chose to be on their own back then . there are places in this state where very large groups ( 100’s ) just vanished leaving the army going around in circles and even lost . The old expression ” it all looks alike ” can be a defense in itself . They weren’t dumb . For awhile there , the Apache had the white man on a reservation because they had such heavy control of the surrounding areas .

      • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

        T.R., big smile on my face when I read your posts. The history of this area is amazing, isnt it? I probably have visited some of those ghost towns you allude to, used to do quite a bit of off roading, metal detecting, and hiking around here. I have a couple of BOL’s in mind here, but also have to consider the circumstances. Unfortunately, the fire was a lot more severe than normal fires here, on three occasions got East across hwy 92 into some built up areas, only through some tremendous efforts by the firefighters did it not become much worse. Not sure how long its been since you were last here, but a lot of growth has occurred in the Hereford area, especially around Ramsey Canyon Road. Had the fire gotten north of Ramsey, Sierra Vista might have been toast. In addition to the Monument fire, there was also the Horseshoe 2 fire in the Chiricahua Mtns that burned over 220,000 acres, including Rustlers Park. Barfoot Lookout, Turkey Creek and maybe Methodist Camp. A lot of those good BOL’s went up in flames.

        • Live in Phx now but grew up around Douglas/Bisbee area . Our family settled the area way back when and are still good friends with the local rancher families that live out in the sticks . Too bad about the Chirichhuas , Hopefully it will bounce back before too long if it gets enough rain . As a kid , I got lost there , no fun as it all looks alike 😉 . My mom grew up on a ranch in the mountains around where I grew up . Its very remote and there are caves and natural springs way up there . The Dragoons are interesting but in a bad location , lot of people as you know live in the Benson/Tombstone area . There is one area in the mountains between Tombstone and Bisbee that to the trained eye looks like it could have been a mine that went through one side of the top of the mountain to the other . Always wanted to check and see if I was right , take a full day on foot to get up there and back I reckon . There is a squatter with a cheesy tourist shop plopped on the best place to start out but oh well , whats a mile or two more .

        • Auntie_Em says:

          TR and AZ rookie, I spent many a happy weekend/ vacation camping, hiking and exploring around southeast AZ. The ghost towns, the old cemetaries, the old mine dumps (I was a rock hound—back then you could find some nifty rock specimens on the old mine dumps). The Chiricauhauas have so much history in them…Fort Bowie ruins…the Indian springs where the water never dried up…wow. Now most of it is burned or inaccessible due to illegals/ danger.

          One thing about BOL’s while AZ is under this severe drought—it’s hard finding a place to go. It’s all tinder dry. I am almost tempted to say that because the Kingman area is not in a drought zone, head up that way—bypass Phx, go by way of Wickenburg.

          • NOBODY lives in Phoenix if they dont have to lol

            • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

              TR, I’ve said that exact same thing! LOL….Auntie Em, I like the Kingman area. Of all the places in Arizona, if I hadnt stayed here in Cochise County, Kingman would probably be next on my list.

            • Or Prescott , Ruger and Northern Arizona Munitions Co. both have a factory in Prescott 😉

  15. templar knight says:

    AZ Rookie Prepper, you don’t sound like much of a rookie to me. This was an excellent article, and the points you make certainly apply to just about all natural disasters, not just fires. Where I live(the White River Valley in Arkansas), we are much more prone to floods and tornadoes, although an extreme drought could cause fire danger as well. After the events of this year in our country, I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought to disaster events, and I’ve upgraded my BOB. Significantly. Thanks, again, for a great article.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      templar knight, I take that as a great compliment. While I’ve always been interested in the outdoors, fished, trapped and hunted all my life, read “My Side of the Mountain” when I was in grade school, etc…I still feel like a rookie prepper. I’ve got kin near the Table Rock/Bull Shoals end of the White River, beautiful country there. Truly, the U.S. has certainly seen its share of “events”, just figured I would share another with the fine folks here and keep people thinking.

  16. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    AZrp, great article. Your advice sure hits home with me. I have got some yard cleaning to do. The weeds are nearly as tall as I am and since we normally get no rain during the summer months, things start drying out quickly – making all the weeds good tinder. So, thanks for the kick in the butt that I needed.

    Often I contemplate what I would grab first if I had to bugout in 5 minutes. To that end, I have put all my important papers & photographs into a messanger bag I can hang on my shoulder while I grab other bags to throw in the ol’ SUV. Next, I need to dig out a duffle bag so I can put my long PPDs in it so I can grab the bag with all its contents and get out of dodge.

    It’s strange how the truth is no longer desired in this country. I noticed that John McCain said it was probably illegals who started the fire, but as soon as he got some criticism about his comment he backpeddled. The truth is, it could ONLY be illegals – either drug cartel scum or other border crossers. And that part of our country has already been ceded to them de facto because our government would rather help Libyans than Americans. People need to wake up and see the damage the illegals are doing to us in so many ways. OK, end of political rant.

    Glad you’re safe, AZrp.

    • templar knight says:

      Lint, speaking of how truth is being suppressed by the MSM, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, although I’m pretty sure you have, but flash mobs of black youths(yes, I said it) are breaking out all over the country. In Peoria, Il., groups of youths were urging each other to “kill white people”, and mobs of youths in Philadelphia were attacking whites as well. If you go to http://www.secondcitycop.blogspot.com you will see that these mobs have taken over the Miracle Mile along the Chicago lakefront. Other mobs have looted stores using the same strategy, which is to rush a store with 30 or more people, and grap everything in sight.

      There is now a general breaking down of the social order along the Clowan-Piven lines. The Leftists have now succeeded in tearing the fabric of our nation. It is going to be tough to repair that fabric. Hard times are here, I’m thinking. Take care.

      • Whew, you college educated guys keep me jumping on here trying to figure out what you are talking about!
        I looked it up. The Cloward-Piven Strategy seeks to hasten the fall of capitalism by overloading the government bureaucracy with a flood of impossible demands, thus pushing society into crisis and economic collapse. Says those 2 were involved with Saul Alinsky who I have heard of.

        • riverrider says:

          yeah, barack osama’s right hand man was quoted at a speech to college students that” to build a better society, sometimes you have to tear the one you have down”…..here’s your sign

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        Yeah, TK, I have been watching the few news snippets of these flash mobs and the roving bands of black youth who are terrorizing white people – again. Reminds me of the 1960s and 1970s when such things occurred in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

        Glenn Beck started off his show today with a story about the terrorism going on in Pennsylvania by the roving mobs of black youth. The New Black Panthers got away with intimidating white voters in Philly in 2008, remember? Eric Holder decided to give them a pass, I suspect very little will happen to these new bullies. Minorities have more babies now than whites. As a mostly white person (I have some Cherokee blood), I am very concerned about the future. Will Americans of European ancestry be herded into FEMA camps? I do wonder.

        This country is going to hell in a hurry and people who have eyes to see and ears to hear need to prepare as quickly as they can. The summer is just getting underway and already blood is in the streets.

        • well perhaps that is a possibility , but this white person will die taking several with him if that happens . Blacks have tunnel vision when it comes to whites , they have no clue about how THEIR future is going to be determined when the Hispanics take over , we will start to look pretty damn good after all . Every country on the planet where Spanish is the national language , is a crap country . That says something . Also , look at Africa …….. is their a country worth a crap there ? Egypt doesnt count as the population is mainly Arab .

      • templar knight ,
        That’s “The Magnificent Mile” and is a major Chicago tourist attraction. I walked its length (actually twice its length a few years back while vacationing in Chicago. I’ve seen on the news that tourists are now being warned of the danger of that stretch of Michigan Avenue just up the street from Millennium and Grant Parks. Grant Park BTW is where Obama held his Victory Party in 2008, but it looks like the entire place has gone to heck.

        • templar knight says:

          You are absolutely right, OP, and I apologize for the error. We just returned from the Redneck Riviera, and the street that runs along the strip in Panama City is often called the “Miracle Mile”. I guess I still had the vacation on my mind. In any event, I’ve noticed the flash mobs of black youth have now struck in Columbia, S.C. and Upper Darby, Pa. It’s just a matter of time before these animals attack the wrong person and several of them get shot. I can see this exact scenario causing a SHTF moment in some big city this summer, and then spreading nationwide. I hope I’m wrong.

          • templar knight,
            That venue is in Chicago in Illinois where even owning a gun, let alone carrying one is pretty much forbidden. I agree that one of these flash mobs is going to make the mistake of being in the wrong city, in the wrong state, and attack the wrong person, and TS will HTF for sure. Glad I don’t live in a big city, nor have to travel to one often.

            • templar knight says:

              Ditto. But I will not go anywhere now where I’m not allowed to carry a firearm. I have an Arkansas concealed carry permit, and it is recognized in 37 states, including Ohio. I don’t travel to the other 13 states, including Illinois, anymore.

    • Aye that Lint !!!!!!
      the wetbacks are a serious danger to all in that area , McCain is a politician in every sense of the word and the only reason Obummer got elected . We need to put the army on the border and secure it once and for all . If you come south of the border with a gun in your hand , you get shot …. period . That needs to happen . My family knew the rancher that was murdered by wets .

      • Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

        I’m all for putting the US Army on the border – with guns and live rounds. And for keeping American public lands open to the public, not mexican drug runners or human smugglers.

        AZrp, sorry to have hijacked your post.

        • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

          L.P., no issue with “hijacking”. I said all comments were welcome and I meant it. I like your comments and agree 99% of the time with your assessments and comments. Only times I dont agree have been because they are not relevant to my personal situation. I think most people here on M.D.’s blog would be interested in your comments, keep em coming.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Could not have said it better Lint.

  17. mindyinds says:

    AZR Prepper, my thanks as well for bringing the subject right up in front of my face, needing to have the BOBs easier to get to, updated, etc., and family more involved in the responsibility. We also live close to the TX hill Country, experiencing “exceptional drought.” Among reasons given for recent fires around here: homeless camp, cigarette butt and “unknown.” Doesn’t take much when everything including grass roots are tender-dry. Nicely written article; hope you guest post again.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      mindyinds, I love that Texas Hill Country, would hate to see it go up like the area here did. Keep a weather eye on the horizon, if you see clouds but no rain in the forecast, get ready to move. If the spirit moves me, and M.D. doesnt mind, I’ll try to continue writing.

  18. On another site it was suggested that among your BOB items , you have a flash drive . The reasoning behind that is , 1. they take up little space and weigh nothing . 2. after the dust settles and order is restored , all your important documents like , deeds , passport , birth certificate , divorce decrees , child custody , court orders , etc. etc. may be lost if you have to leave , and by scanning them onto a flash drive , you can prove your identity , ownership , custody , etc. with less hassle . On one hand I’m hesitant to do that , but on the other hand it sounds like a good idea considering bureaucracy

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      T.R., at a minimum, the flash drive could help you recreate your documents. One of the things I recommend is that you NEVER leave your social security number on any of those docs or on your computer. I remove it from my turbotax on my computer once I’ve filed….hard lesson learned, my computer got hacked once and everything on it was available to whoever did the hacking.

  19. blindshooter says:

    AZ, good read, I’m watching the news and weather here in eastern NC as there are several large fires some have been burning since first of May. So far all we have to deal with where I live is the smoke but I have to travel for work through the areas where the fire is active and if you don’t know where the roads are blocked the detours can be hours long. And they road closings can change with the wind direction so I pay attention with the mobile web device my company gives me( I could not afford it myself). They burned 15000 acres a couple days back just to try to slow down one of the faster moving fires. They have saved most homes but lost some too. The local volunteers have been very busy and lot of them have gotten sick from the smoke. And like others said, don’t forget to pay the homeowners insurance.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      blindshooter, hope your firefighters get those under control soonest. Sounds like your mobile web device sure helps, wish I could afford one myself.

  20. SrvivlSally says:

    I wonder if one of the dealers or someone else’s hot tail pipe brushed or sat against some brush for the fire to start. People are careless and unless they are made aware somehow they are apt to make mistakes. If their vehicle’s shocks were gone and they hit a patch of rocks with their tail end, combined with the sparks of the metal, heat from their muffler, dry conditions and certain winds, anything could have quickly caught. If not a new lesson, your article is a useful reminder and a tool to help anyone think about the needs of others and how, when they help out in whatever way they can, their actions make police and fire fighter personnel’s jobs that much easier. Thanks, AZ Rookie Prepper.

    • This fire was intentionally set. My daughter who spent 10 days out of her house works for the Border Patrol in the Tucson sector . She said two agents working higher up in the mountains saw 2 people jump the fence move up the hill and then return to Mexico. Moments later they saw the flames and tried to get to them before they got out of control. Obviously they didn’t succeed.

      • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

        SrvivlSally and chemman, it is absolutely clear to me it was man-made. I too have heard various stories of how it got started. Due to the location, due to the quantity of Border Patrol in that area, due to the closing of the area to “legal” visitors….its almost a sure thing that someone from across the border set the fire. Whether by accident or on purpose doesnt matter, but it put a lot of people’s lives and property at risk and/or lost. Luckily no one died, but some did have some health issues from the fire. It cost millions of $ to fight this fire, along with the millions in property lost and damaged, the millions spent by folks that had to evacuate, etc. This COST a lot! Could the fire have been caused by a “legal” resident???? It is possible, but highly improbable. I’ld like to see a bill sent to Mexico for reimbursement of those costs….:-)

  21. Great article Arizona rookie prepper!fires aren’t as big a concern where I live. Tornadoes now,,, they scare me. There is nothing you can do to prepare your home for a direct hit. My wife and I need to think about what’s most important to us and be ready to grab it next time we are under threat. Not long ago we had a big one heading directly for us. It receaded back into the sky just long enough to pass over our town and hit the north east side if minden. My wife and I actually fled in the pickup because it would have been a direct hit that wouldn’t have spared anything. We left in t shirts and flip flops with just axfew minutes notice. From now on I’m keeping a tornadoes bag packed. By the way,I was waving at you from the top of Texas canyon(the thing) a couple hours ago when I pulled over to poop the dogs. Great post! Thanks. Brad

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Brad, consider yourself “waved” back! Texas Canyon is a hard pull if you’re loaded heavy, not as bad as Raton Pass….I grew up in tornado alley (outside of Kansas City), so I know what you and your wife went through with your recent tornado. Those are truly frightening experiences. Another post here from T.R. recommended recording all your possessions on a digital camera and scanning in your valuable papers onto a flash drive, you might consider adding that to your tornado BOB.

  22. We have been discussing the bug in but out situation as well. Since we live in a 5th wheel I think we can leave easier than most others can. One person asked about loading up the #10 cans or the super pails first. We have a 30 foot trailer that is our storage shed. We built shelves along each side and it has a/c. We run it now because we can but if we had to bug out and go somewhere else we might have to do without. My suggestion is if you can do something similar for storage, it would be very easy to hitch up and bug out quickly and all your preps are with you.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      debbieo, sounds like you have a pretty good plan. Question for you….do you have two trucks to pull with? One for the 5th wheel, one for the trailer? In the particular situation I described here, some folks only had minutes to evacuate, not even time to load up anything except what they could grab as they ran out the door. If you have time, absolutely your idea sounds great. Not sure I can afford a 30 foot enclosed trailer…:(

    • riverrider says:

      debbieo, yes we thought about storing the preps in our toyhauler but we actually use it once in a while, so we’d have to unload everything. also its hot/humid in there w/o the ac. can’t afford to run it full time. when i built the house i originally had double doors exiting the basement where i intended to park a jeep trailer loaded with the preps. that got scrapped when we decided to finish the space. i have a utility trailer to load when the need arrises. guess if its post shtf i could load the toyhauler then and keep it hitched in case.

  23. Your article was very interesting. What made it interesting was the application to an actual event. One thought that came to my mind was the need to video tape everything you own. I live in a wet climate [Western Washington State]. My development is surrounded by fields. One in the summer started to burn. It was a slow moving fire. The fire department had a small team watching it. We were not told to leave. I realized at that time how I needed to video tape my possessions. The fire department got the fire out just on the fence line. I too have been in the Bug In group. Your first statement is so true. No possession is more important than life.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Who is a Prepper, yes, the application of prepping to a real world SHTF scenario is what got me thinking about writing it. If you’ve got some other “real world” applications, I would encourage any of you to write a guest post, I am sure M.D. would post them.

  24. Excellent article, thankyou for making me think 🙂

  25. >>While this fire might not be the definition of TEOTWAWKI to you<<

    On the other hand a fire could be TEOTWAWKI, so could unemployment, an ice storm and a host of other things …. Preping is being ready for the unexpected, survival is getting thru the unexpected.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Great comment Rob. My thinking when I wrote that particular statement was that some people look at TEOTWAWKI as a “Mad Max” scenario, total collapse of all society, etc. On a personal level, you are absolutely correct, many other types of disasters such as those you mention would fit the definition.

  26. Barbara says:

    What’s an INCH Bag? Never heard that one before.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      Barbara, An INCH bag is “I’m Never Coming Home” bag….:( I dont know if I would consider it too different than a BOB, but I could see some possibilities of different items to put into an INCH bag that you might not necessarily put into a BOB.

      • bcasparius says:

        Thanks, AZ Rookie Prepper, I think I would consider an INCH bag different than a BOB, since I would want it to contain more “personal items” than “necessary to survive items”. Something else to think about, just when I think I am getting a handle on this prepping.

        • I have never heard of that either …….. something to consider . I again am divided on it , but well understand the need for such an item . My first reaction is a picture of somebody that has resigned themselves to defeat , that alone bothers me . But as this article points out , that may be a reality , if your home is in the direct path of a forest fire …….. not much you can do at that point , so having one of these packed or semi packed with your most sentimental items that could never be replaced is a good idea and well worth the effort in the long run when you start over . I would also suggest that everybody in areas where natural disaster is a high probability buy a small covered trailer to place your larger items in in a hurry . Most of the time , your not going to be caught unaware of natural disasters and most likely will have more than enough time to get out with your most important belongings . Tornados are more tricky . They keep a pretty good eye on fires and hurricanes .

          • I place tornados in the same category as earthquakes since you have limited to no warning, and the outcome may be anywhere from catastrophic to no damage at all.
            Where I live Tornados are really the only big natural disaster to be concerned with, and I’ll take them over most all of the other natural problems any day. A tornado can remove my neighbors’ house to the foundation without scratching the paint on my house. Most other natural phenomenon are not that selective.

      • The INCH bag could also be used in a situation like a tornado, fire, or earthquake where you are actually coming back home, but there may not be much left. Those personal keepsakes you can bring along may be a good emotional boost. Assuming you’re insurance can replace the buildings, there are still mementos that could be missing, like those pencil marks on the doorframe for each of the children as they grew up.
        In some cases however, like those in the path of Hawaiian lava flows, INCH means exactly what it says.
        The main thing here is to make sure you’re aware of the possibilities, have contingency plans in place, and then hope you never need them.

        • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

          We all have our region’s particular disasters to deal with, and as O.P. said, be aware of what you’re facing, make your plans, hope for the best, plan for the worst. Whether you use an INCH bag, a small trailer, or you have time to rent a 40 foot U-Haul, my Lesson One still applies though…..no possession is worth death. Your life is the most important thing, with the exception of your families lives may need to come before yours.

  27. Here in Michigan, forest fire is a definite threat. Snow storms come second or first depending on the season. I am currently checking out a DC powered well pump (Dankoff Solar-force 3010-12B) to replace my AC pump because the AC pump (240V at 17A) is way too big for a hundred foot well. I already have the solar power system. Would lower power use by 20 times (12V at 22A)

    My neighbor has a (6″ pipe) well with fire hose hookups (ask your local fire house for the fitting size, they may give you the hydrant) and diesel genset (located next to hydrant) for fire protection.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      michael c, sounds like you’ve got a pretty sweet deal going there. And with a neighbor set up to fight fires, couldnt ask for better. Heres hoping you never have to use it.

  28. Besides laziness and apathy , I always wondered why in this country we couldn’t use natures fury to equalize the conditions of some regions . How about a pipeline from chronic flood areas to the southwest , helps get rid of the water in one area and places it in an area that needs it . Things like that . Stupid ? maybe , but if the chinese can build the great wall , we can build a pipeline across Alaska and in a platform in the North sea , and send some jackass to the moon accomplishing nothing and keep our armies on foreign soil for over 10 years accomplishing nothing at taxpayers expense . That doesn’t sound so far fetched to me .

    • riverrider says:

      amen, brother. lets bring them home from ALL the places across the world. put them to work securing OUR nation and spending their pay in OUR country. The savings alone would pay for about any project you could come up with. let the world, that hates us, eat cake.

      • I would love us to default on purpose , what can they do about it ? if their dumb enough to lend money they know we cant pay back … thats their problem , then withdraw and consolidate to a policy of self reliance and isolationism .

  29. Just read about this fire in NM. It can be found here: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/43558540/ns/weather/

    Time to get Nuke Alerts, just in case.

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      4Nana, indeed, there are quite a few areas that we need to be aware of and concerned about. Any nuke plant anywhere has a potential of being a bad place to be around. Other places to be aware of….downstream from a dam, near a chemical plant, near a potential terrorist target, etc….Each of us needs to evaluate our region and make our plans accordingly.

  30. sheri (IN) says:

    AZ RP – Very informative article. I’m glad I don’t live in an area that has the threat of fire. I think I will take tornados and earthquakes any day.
    I too had never heard of an INCH bag. THAT is definitely something to work on. I couldn’t imagine leaving certain personal things behind.

    Prayers for rain for your region 😀

    • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

      sheri (IN), the good news is it finally rained today here. The bad news is, the lightning that came with it started another fire. The good news is the firefighters were on top of it quickly…..hopefully theres no more bad news 🙂

  31. AZ Rookie Prepper says:

    Update on the Monument Fire – yesterday it actually rained here!!! The bad news is that lightning started a new fire, the good news is the firefighters were on it quickly. Havent gotten word yet, but looks like they put it out. Additional good news, looks like possible more rain for the next few days, keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Good news, indeed. Every morning I look at the NWS Storm Prediction Center’s maps. I’ve been lingering a little longer on the Fire map over the past week, watching your area. Prayers to you and everyone in the region for more rain!

      • AZ Rookie Prepper says:

        Mark, thank you. We’ve had rain the last three days, a little spotty (some here, a lot there, a little over here). If the summer rainy season sticks around, we should be ok, for awhile.

  32. When?

    When do you leave? It is a personal decission that we should all ask ourselves.
    Do you wait until the “government offocial” informs you its time to evacuate?
    I am not talking about fire or flood or hurricane or twisters, at the same time I am, but on a larger scale any grounds that would make you question staying put as opposed to “bugging out”.
    Do you wait until emergency management starts to broadcast? the power goes out? the water stops flowing? Or do you jump the gun and go now. Right now. We all feel there is something on the horizon and we (most of us) are preparing for such an event.
    I would not feel stupid for moving to my “retreat” right now, if I could continue doing the job I have, but the ammount of property I would be leaving behind for the heathens to destroy and plunder represents the bulk of my wealth. That may be the same for many of us.
    Funny, I spent vasts ammounts of money on the stuff I have here, spent less than a quarter on my retreat and feel more whole on my 10 acres in the woods that my 1/10th of an acre in the city. My point is don’t become a slave to your possessions.
    Just rambling, sorry. I do wonder about others decission of “when” is it time to GTFO.

    • Jerry,

      Did you read my post Bugging Out vs. Hunkering Down?

      • I read all your posts. Just wondering about the tipping point for alot of people, and looking for the common thread that is the key indicator for a “get out” plan.

        • Jerry,
          I think the answer to this is the same answer you might give to the question, when do you quit a job you don’t like; or divorce a spouse you don’t get along with; or replace that old vehicle with a newer one? These answers all depend on your circumstances from financial to physical to location, along with your own level of preparedness and tolerance for discomfort. In short, you have to make a plan and pay close attention to your surroundings and any events in the world that you think may have a ripple effect in your direction. I made the decision to permanently bug out to my BOL nearly 30 years ago, which meant a 25 to 45 mile trip (one way) to my job. Some people who live in town and were only 5 minutes away would often ask why I lived so far out, and wondered why I didn’t move closer. The traveling, the time, and the expense were worth it to me, but might not be for others. In the end, we all have to do what makes us each comfortable, within the bounds of our particular circumstances.

  33. AZ Rookie Prepper says:

    Jerry, O.P. makes excellent points. You must decide for yourself, no one else can tell you “when” its time. Too many variables in that equation for that kind of advice. For some, its a case of “leave or die”. For others, its a case of “getting out while the getting is good”. For even others, its a case of “it depends”….and that is where the decision has to be a personal one. There is no magic formula for the “right time”. If you are looking for the “common thread”….I would say mostly that common thread is the personal decision…

  34. Bingo! We have a winner! You get it,AZ. That was what I was looking for. The “common thread”. I agree that it is personal, what we preceive as the “tipping point”. I was simply wondering if that tipping point was a paticular event as opposed to an emotion based/ personal perception of ” bad things this way cometh”.

    It was also a food for thought question, something that we all need to think about. Part of our preperations should be “be aware of your surroundings” not just the physical aspects but the political/emotional /racial enviroment that surrounds us.

    M.D., Ohio and AZ thanks for the replies, it really was only retorical. I felt that the question needed to be thrown out there, I know it has before but it in its simplicity “when” lies the weight of each of our survival and it is the key decission next to “when do I start to prepare” (yesterday).

    • Lake Lili says:

      Jerry, the answer may also lie in the “where” you are bugging out to. We left the Big Smoke three years ago for a place that I truly believed would provide us with the space and security we would need. I found that my city eyes did not really understand what that meant – depsite converstations with dozens of people and reading hundreds of books. Now that we are settled, I am looking for property in a more remote area of our county. I wasn’t wrong in the area just in the property. None of this would have been known if we had waited.

      There were a bunch of factors for us in getting out but one of the biggest was education and what Monkey was being taught in that school. His kindergarten class had 28 student. In the two months we were there 18 children transfered in and out of that class, 13 children spoke no English (and this was not an ESL school!) and the teacher was “absent” on school or union related business one to two days a week. It was absolute chaos. Additionally our rent was going up in a scary way, the elevator in our building died and our place became a 5th floor walk-up, the road outside was torn up (and three years later that road is still being worked on), and it was time to go… Sometimes it is the accumulation of small things that show you its time to go rather than the one big neon sign…

      PS homeschooling has been wonderful and Monky is really excelling.

  35. Auntie_Em says:

    Your reasons for bugging out will be specific and local—even personal.
    If you live in areas prone to hurricanes or floods or near a geologic fault or volcano—you will need to stay aware of news/weather/USGS reports. Be ready to bug out if reports sound like danger is coming your way.
    If you live in a densely populated area, you may want to escape before mob violence/ riots/etc erupt. Again, stay vigilant with news reports. You want to G.O.O.D. before martial law is set up….and before the mobs show up in your neighborhood. If your gut tells you to get out, but your friends pooh=pooh that—listen to your gut. Better safe than suffering.
    If you live within 100 miles of a nuke-energy facility—stay alert. Look at what happened with the Las Conchas/ Los Alamos fire and the flooding in in the midwest at the nuke facilities. If you live downwind of nuke facilities but more than 100 miles away—you need to decide ahead of time what to do. (I live about 150-250 miles from a couple of nuke facilities. And much of the year our winds are from the W and NW. If there were a meltdown—that airborne stuff would drift toward my locale.)
    If you live near a military base—that is a target for nukes from our international enemies.
    The common thread is to make yourself educated of what dangers are common/ possible for your specific location. Then, stay aware of news reports or USGS reports or weather reports. And heed your gut rather than your friends or other outside sources.

    Formulate a plan to GOOD before the S actually HTF. If you wait—you will be fighting traffic on clogged roads with everyone else who is leaving at the last minute.
    P.S. As we saw in the Arizona and New Mexico fires—even BOL’s in the mountains have to sometimes be bugged-out FROM. Even those lucky folks living in beautiful Wyoming and Montana face the possibility of the Yellowstone super volcano erupting….and having to bug out from their rural homes.

  36. AZ Rookie Prepper says:

    One last update to the “Fire on the Mountain” post. The fire has been contained, and recent rains have helped…and hurt. With the summer monsoon rains here in the southwest, we also get lots of lightning. The Huachuca Mountains name means “Thunder Mountain”…we’ve had a couple of spot fires from lightning already. Luckily nothing big. The next big problem is flooding. With all the ground cover burned off, and the ground is not really able to absorb large quantities of rain, officials have been warning of flash flooding, particularly in the canyon areas. Mudslides are also a possibility. Flash floods move faster than fire, mudslides do too. Keep your BOB ready!

  37. SurvivorDan says:

    Great article AZ RP. I spent a week at the Rodeo-Chedeski fire in ‘o2 with my county’s Sheriff’s Department so your article hit home with me. I thought I was only afraid of dentists and sharks until that week at the fire. A wildfire is some scary stuff! I especially remember a day when (after weeks of warning) we had to bully and cajole people (we technically, couldn’t force them) into leaving as the fire had surged near one area and was only minutes away. People who had weeks of warning were running back and forth between their vehicles and homes to get one more ‘can’t live without it’ item. Crying that they weren’t ready to go yet. They endangered their own lives and the lives of the law enforcement personnel present. They were the antithesis of preppers. Future desperate Goblins I reckon.
    Point was that your similar scenario shows the importance of having a G0-Bag regardless of personal prepping (anti Bug out bag) prejudices.
    Not counting extra gear I already had, I only spent less than $100 to get my Go-Bag put together. I too have more faith in “buggin’ in” with all my food stores, gear, weapons, and such in a place I can defend and persevere in, but certain crises call for…………..buggin’ out!

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