Sunday, July 29, 2018

If it's California- it must be burning

July in California has always been hot, but this year it has been exceptionally hot. I mean, 'everyday it's going to be 100 degrees and hotter', type hot.

Like, ' When did I move to Iraq', type of hot.

 There are fires every where; Redding, Inglewood, San Diego, Clear Lake, Walnut Creek, and Yosemite. So many families have lost everything.

So I'm beating my drum again. Be prepared.

Things to do to prepare and prevent ~

Clear brush and trees, living or dead away from your homes, barns or other important structures. I know it is a lot of work, and it can be expensive if you can't do it yourself, but what is your home and peace of mind worth to you? Last year just this simple thing alone saved many homes in Santa Rosa and Northern California.

Make a defensible space around your home and barn and important buildings. That means short grass or a watered lawn. Make graveled open areas instead of weeds. No woodpiles near the house or barn. Clean away the junk that builds up behind the house or shed. Keep good heavy hoses near open spaces. Make sure your roof is fireproof.

Prepare your animals to travel quickly. Keep cans of dog and cat food inside a crate that you can put your animals into as well. Keep accessible a flat of water that you can throw into the back of your car. 
Keep leashes and harnesses handy there as well.

If you have animals in a barn, have crates for chickens and goats and halters for horses. Make the time now to teach your horses to load in a trailer with little fuss. Take the time to have other people handle your animal occasionally. If a firefighter or first responder has to halter your animal, will your animal behave?

 Keep a grease pencil in the tack room so you can write your name on your horse. Yes- ON- your horse. His neck or his side- add your phone number too.

Inside your barn, keep cobwebs to a minimum. Know your evacuation route and post it in a location where friends or boarders have access to see it. Have a plan of where you can take your animals in an emergency and add that to your evacuation plan post. Is there a friend or relative a few miles away, or another boarding stable at the opposite end of town that you can 'trade' shelter with? Have knowledge of where an evacuation center might be; usually Fairgrounds, large stables or Race tracks. 

Keep your trailers accessible, clean and have the tires filled. Keep your truck full of fuel. Have extra halters inside the tack compartment, extra buckets and ropes too.

And most importantly- Know how long it is going to take you to load your animals up and leave your home. That includes hitching the trailer, and loading all the animals. Don't worry about your saddles and tack- that can all be replaced if the worst happens. The biggest mistake people make is not understanding that when the Fire Dept says to evacuate- they mean YOU. Not your animals. You. They will give you as much as 5 minutes sometimes. Yes. 5 minutes.

The best thing you can do is to remove you and your animals from danger as soon as possible.

Two years ago I might have scoffed at having all this preparation, thinking it all a bit extreme and un necessary. But I have witnessed too many devastating fires in those last two years. I no longer believe that being this prepared is extreme, but is necessary for survival.

My heart goes out for those affected by these fires and I am praying that everyone can all return to their homes whole and in good time.