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dthomasdigital

Fire Season in the High Desert

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Going over the go bags today, a fire broke out yesterday at 10:56am and by 3:00pm it was all ready at 700 acres, with 200 homes evacuated and only 25 miles from my house. When you see the smoke plumes at this time of year I never get any flack from the family about having my preps. So the truck is backed into the garage, the pet carriers are by the door and the go bags are loaded. Now to keep an ear to the radio. It's never boring in the high desert of New Mexico.

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The good news is the fire crews have built containment lines and the winds are driving to areas where fuel reduction efforts have been made as well as it's moving towards areas of older burn scars (we had a huge fire 5 years ago in the same area). Tanker plans are flying over the house about once an hour. They didn't mess around with this one.

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Buildings usually don't catch unless there is material near them to act as tinder. The uncovered wood pile stacked against the house is a really bad plan, dead grass , straw bales used to insulate a basement etc.  A 10 meter cleared space is cheap insurance and more then doubles the odds of having a place to come back to. If you can set up a few lawn sprinklers and have an automated way of keeping them going ( after the mandatory evac. ) you can save the trees too.  Big fire up here a decade + back. It burnt everything around a local resort ( for a few miles ). The resort had gen sets, pumps and is on the lake, strung garden hoses through the 20 meter tall spruce trees and had a fine mist of water raising the local humidity. They saved the resort, a small park, cottages and the trees, everything else ( power lines, bridges, apx 30 square miles of forest ) was ashes. It did help that they were allowed to stay till the last minute as they could leave by boat, so everything that could be done was. The owner told me there were flames 60 feet above the trees when he left and he wasn't expecting to see the place again.

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Not to worried about my house or any of the houses around me. We all have xeriscaping with irrigation, we do however sit along a nature preserve and there is very dry brush it hit 105 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday so it's crispy out there. The current fire closes to me has started to get contained. I check this web site all the time during fire season. T

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Well I spoke to soon, new fire broke out to my east, picture from the backyard about 30 miles to my east, no pine trees out there just brush and some juniper trees. No wind so the planes and the helicopters should be able to put it down fast. Season got off to a late start but it's making up for lost time.

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On 18/06/2017 at 10:46 PM, dthomasdigital said:

Well I spoke to soon, new fire broke out to my east, picture from the backyard about 30 miles to my east, no pine trees out there just brush and some juniper trees. No wind so the planes and the helicopters should be able to put it down fast. Season got off to a late start but it's making up for lost time.

IMG_0148.JPG

That sounds terrifying, what is your red line for getting the fuck out? D:

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I have 3 exit routes out of this area (one of the reasons I moved to this location), I am also a volunteer for our emergency radio service and in C.E.R.T. so I get information on fires pretty fast. We are prepared we have the go bags pack checked and up-to-date, important papers and the pets go kits loaded and ready to go. We do test runs before every fire season, We can get up, dressed and out the door in 15 minutes flat, worst time was 25 minutes. That's me the wife, our son, the mother in law, 1 dog, and 2 cats. The tank is never below 1/2 tank ever, and a fire fighters trick the truck is always backed into the garage, if you really got to get out fast keeps you from backing into all the other people bugging out.

Also all the radios (each person in the family has a radio assigned) have the forest service pre programmed, and we have a designated communication plan as well. 

 

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On 20/06/2017 at 11:40 PM, dthomasdigital said:

I have 3 exit routes out of this area (one of the reasons I moved to this location), I am also a volunteer for our emergency radio service and in C.E.R.T. so I get information on fires pretty fast. We are prepared we have the go bags pack checked and up-to-date, important papers and the pets go kits loaded and ready to go. We do test runs before every fire season, We can get up, dressed and out the door in 15 minutes flat, worst time was 25 minutes. That's me the wife, our son, the mother in law, 1 dog, and 2 cats. The tank is never below 1/2 tank ever, and a fire fighters trick the truck is always backed into the garage, if you really got to get out fast keeps you from backing into all the other people bugging out.

Also all the radios (each person in the family has a radio assigned) have the forest service pre programmed, and we have a designated communication plan as well. 

 

Sounds like you have your shit together. I couldn't imagine living in such an arid enviroment. I have always lived in "wet" places so when you desert folks talk about gathering and managing water as a resource its always very interesting to me.

I just have to step outside. ;) 

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I have a bit of an advantage as I use to be the director of emergency communications for the county, and now I work in critical infrastructure protection for the local electrical utility so I got all the toys and emergency plans.

You don't want to know what we pay for water out here.

 

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33 minutes ago, dthomasdigital said:

I have a bit of an advantage as I use to be the director of emergency communications for the county, and now I work in critical infrastructure protection for the local electrical utility so I got all the toys and emergency plans.

You don't want to know what we pay for water out here.

 

Alright, i'll bite..what do you pay for water?

I pay approx $320 a year for my entire household. 

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9 hours ago, dthomasdigital said:

About $1200 - $1400 a year. 

Yikes, but thinking about it, probably sank $10,000 in total into building cisterns, pressure systems, grey water handling, so $500 / year by now.

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We pay higher than most as the City I live in just finished a water reclamation project, we capture the water and feed it back into the aquifer. So we pay more in fees but at least we will have water longer.

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On 11/07/2017 at 1:58 PM, dthomasdigital said:

We pay higher than most as the City I live in just finished a water reclamation project, we capture the water and feed it back into the aquifer. So we pay more in fees but at least we will have water longer.

is that a serious concern in your neck of the woods? Running out of water entirely?

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Just now, dthomasdigital said:

It's a huge concern we've had many a small town run out of their only water source and have to truck it in.

At that point isn't it cheaper to just move?

Eesh. I am literally in awe of people who live in arid environments. 

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On 19/07/2017 at 0:46 AM, dthomasdigital said:

I know I would move, the back country out here, and some of the Indianan pueblo's are so remote I don't even want to hike in those areas.There is a reason we have the area called the BadLands.

That place is my own idea of hell. Eugh, the paranoia I would feel trekking through those places...

Whats your "red line" for when the time hits to move?

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