Taylor Creek Fire/Evacuation and Our Personal SHTF Experience

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by GOG, Aug 16, 2018.

  1. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    This is a recap of our recent experience during the wildfires currently burning in Southern Oregon. There's much involved and I want to give an honest and accurate recounting of events, so this will probably wander a bit.

    The fires actually started on July 15th due to lightning strikes and things progressed from there.

    The fire we were threatened by was the Taylor Creek Fire and it's still burning, although it's being managed at this point. There were so many fires that it was included in the Garner Complex fire to more efficiently fight it and the other fires that are in the area.
    However it grew so large that it was broken out into its own fire again to manage it better. As of last Tuesday, 8/13/18 the Klondike Fire & Taylor Creek Fire are over 100,000 acres.

    This place is my BOL/retreat so I'm not just leaving on a whim. I've always said that the only way I'm leaving here will be because of a natural disaster or feet first.
    Well, I got to test my theory and had no choice but to bug out.

    We were blessed to stay with friends at their ranch and that was a good thing because there wasn't a motel room within miles. We would have been forced to camp somewhere if we could find a spot plus the fact that the smoke was horrendous. It's still bad, but not quite as bad as it was.

    A lesson learned on the subject; when the budget allows we're going to buy a small travel trailer and stock it with the basics to have on standby. I bought a new truck last year to have the capability to tow, so now it's time to figure out that part and do what's next indicated.

    Although we had bugout bags and we keep some things pre-loaded in the truck, we still had to grab, pack and go. The basics were already covered; the important papers and the most important stuff are always ready to go, but there was still some fumbling around before our exit.

    It's also expensive! We spent a bunch of money and I can't honestly tell you where most of it went.

    One of the worst issues of the entire event was the lack of timely information. Understandably things are quite fluid during an event like this but the extreme lack of info just added to the fear and frustration of a lousy situation.

    We actually bugged out twice. We were able to return for a few days, but then the fire continued to blow up and we had to beat feet again for a longer period. It was an emotional roller coaster ride and by the time we were able to come home we were both mentally and physically exhausted.
    Sleeping patterns are disrupted, meal times, etc, and it was tough on our pets as well.

    Our cat was locked up in a bedroom for three days and then for eight days. The dog also spent way too much time in there. So although we had supplies and had prepped for their bugout, their lives got disrupted and they were stressed as well.
    We keep "Rescue Remedy" on hand for them. It comes in several forms but we use the tincture for the fur family. It's actually fine for people too and so I don't mind using it for them. Its a mixture of about six herbs and it has a calming effect. We put a few drops on their tongue and in a little while they are doing better.

    I will definitely devote more time and money for communications equipment and training. This was my main failure area and the most frustrating.
    We have to get a solar charger or two and some other gear as yet undetermined.
    I also will get some type of scanner/receiver and will look into ham and other comms asap because I only know really basic stuff.

    We also tossed all the perishable food in the fridge since the power was likely to go out and I was going to kill the main anyway. *Kill the main breaker to prevent a fire during an evacuation for a fire. :rolleyes:

    Food... We did our best to save our frozen food which was mostly meats. We emptied the chest freezer and the fridge freezer and stored them in a spare freezer at the ranch where we stayed. Unfortunately that freezer didn't work and we only found out after all the food went bad. So the price of evacuating may have hidden costs although YMMV.

    Garbage... There was a bunch of spoiled foods and other nasty stuff and it stewed in the dumpster for right around three weeks. So there were maggots, the stench and all that good stuff and the dumpster reeks so it's getting replaced.

    Bills... The bills keep coming, but the mail doesn't necessarily get delivered to evacuation areas so getting stuff paid on time was a hassle.

    There's ammunition, propane, gasoline and kerosene in some quantities and assorted other chemicals stored here that pose hazards for the firefighters, so we made sure they knew. I hated to say anything but it was the right thing to do.

    I'm going to replace my PC with a laptop. It's a complete PITA to deal with a CPU for bugging out.

    We need to buy ramps for the truck. I lost count of how many times I loaded and unloaded the truck and ramps would have been helpful. I'm getting too old for this.

    Something that did work really well was having wheeled job boxes pre-packed with our bugout gear.

    Oh yeah, there were looters. The lowest of the low taking advantage of others' misfortune. They were floating down the river past the NG checkpoints and then would hit the shore and rob the neighborhood.
    There was also a number of lowlifes who actually burglarized their neighbors.

    I'll post some videos when I can figure out how to resize them.
    I'm going to go ahead and post this thread even though it's a pretty inadequate narrative. Hopefully if folks chime in, more information will develop and we can all learn some stuff.
  2. AndyinEverson

    AndyinEverson Black Powder Monkey

    Glad you are safe and back home..
    Nicely written After Action Report....sad to hear 'bout the looters...sad but unfortunately not surprised.
    We have pets as well so I'm going to have to look into that "Rescue Remedy".
    oldawg, Motomom34, 3M-TA3 and 7 others like this.
  3. oil pan 4

    oil pan 4 Monkey+++

    I gave up on the chest freezer back around 2012.
    I still have it but I use it as a storage cabinet for tools. It sill works. Keep it as a backup for the fridge freezer.
    Ura-Ki, GOG, AndyinEverson and 4 others like this.
  4. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    Real glad to hear your alright GOG. Great writeup and had a conversation about what you said about bugging out with my wife over lunch. Had fires all over this county with over 300 lightning strikes on 7/15. We are okay but have been in the smoke since 7/22.
    GrayGhost, Motomom34, Ura-Ki and 6 others like this.
  5. SB21

    SB21 Monkey+++

    Glad to hear your health and home is safe . Some great ideas for the monkeys on the bug out experience. Real life actual experience is better than any perceived book written on the subject. Never heard of that Rescue Remedy , where might it be available at ??
    GrayGhost, Motomom34, Ura-Ki and 6 others like this.
  6. sec_monkey

    sec_monkey SM Security Administrator

    [biggrouphug] @GOG @Mountainman @ all yall

    real glad yall are safe (y) (y)

    fires stink in a bunch of ways :( :(

    @GOG if ya could zip [ pkzip/winzip ] each of the videos then PM them over we can resize them or convert them for ya

    the forum has a size limit so if it rejects the zip files please send a PM, we will see if we can increase the limit

    :) :)
    Ura-Ki, Sapper John, GOG and 4 others like this.
  7. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Dang GOG, Sorry to hear about all that, Especially the food, Perhaps invest in some RTIC ice chests for storage during evacuations or a huge fuel tank for the generator,I like the Camper ideal, Keep it covered under a shed and it will last longer. Bury any excess hardware, 8'' of dirt is excellent insulation!
  8. sec_monkey

    sec_monkey SM Security Administrator

    @GOG yep [ditto] what @Gator 45/70 said

    if ya had some wheeled ice chests/coolers ya could have saved all that food n could have taken it with ya (y) (y)

    the wheels help a bunch, most of us aint gettin any younger ..

    make sure ya fully function test equipment like that freezer before ya use it, they can fail on ya at the worst time :( :(
  9. Dunerunner

    Dunerunner Brewery Monkey Moderator

    Glad to hear you @GOG and @Mountainman are safe. Makes me wonder what could be done about the smoke? Particulate masks maybe? Good real life lessons to be learned, and your sharing the experience here is much appreciated.
  10. Are you thinking of a goose-neck or bumper hitch trailer? What accommodations do you need in it? I have no suggestions, but I am interested (read nosey).
    Gator 45/70, Ura-Ki, GOG and 2 others like this.
  11. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    We're thinking of a regular hitch, not a fifth wheel. I had a trailer hitch installed when I bought the truck but I haven't bought a draw bar and ball yet. So that goes on the shopping list too.

    I just bought some Rescue Remedy to stock up. I just get it on Amazon because natural food stores extort you for it. A 20ml. dropper bottle is around twelve bucks give or take. So don't pay much more because prices really vary and some folks will happily snake you for a dollar.
  12. 3M-TA3

    3M-TA3 Cold Wet Monkey

    Glad all are well and safe! Great report with much to think about.
  13. Ura-Ki

    Ura-Ki Grampa Monkey

    So, first off, glad you guys made it through with your health and no damage! I was really watchin close as we were gettin yer smoke in Salem! Second, I recommend reaching out to monkeys and gunners in your A.O. with in say an hour drive, plenty of us around and able to help when needed ( this should apply to all monkeys BTW) I'll P.M. ya later with my contact info, i'm going to be in/around Tillimook/New Port!
    I would definitely be looking for a small travel trailer to tow out when needed, and I would make sure to check on it every few weeks to a month! Make sure batteries and charged, propane is topped up and appliances all working. If equipped with a fridge/freezer, I would keep them full with bottled water, even if they fail, the bottles can keep your stuff cold a few days! Wally Wirld has a good sale going on right now, the Igloo 120 Qt coolers are under $100 bucks, well worth having, properly iced and taped, they can keep your foods cold for over a week! Harbor Freight Tools has really good 3M particulate masks and spare filters, a pair are under $30 with two spares. Also, a pair of full safety goggles will protect your eyes from the smoke, and they are designed to work with those masks, both available at all the stores! A good 10X10 or two pop up canopies is a god send to go along with your trailer, they can really help keep your things cool in side your coolers as you are parked along side. IF you don't have a canopy on your pick up, a good full coverage ladder rack is a YUGE help, I just stuck one on my 1st gen Dodge Diesel, I got 2 4X8 foot pieces of expanded steel and fit them to the rack all the way to the windshield, and added a "X" brace so I can put a ton of stuff on top and still have the full bed for large and or heavy gear! I gots more fer ya, will add later!
    GrayGhost, Motomom34, GOG and 6 others like this.
  14. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    We have respirators and gas masks and they work fine. At YD's suggestion a couple years ago when we were smoked out again went out ground squirrel hunting in 95 degree weather for a few hours. Man, that was sweaty miserable. Hats off to you military guys that are/were in those environments.
  15. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    We have masks and filters and the N95 masks too. Brandi's having major headaches from the smoke and I'm having some as well, but that's just fire season as usual in Southern Oregon. :cautious:
  16. duane

    duane Monkey+++

    Glad you are safe, military always states that no plan last beyond contact with the enemy, guess same is true in any real bug out situation. Don't plan to bug out, but the danger of becoming "well done" on the chart adter a fire would make me leave. Thank you for sharing what worked and what didn't.
    Gator 45/70, GrayGhost, GOG and 4 others like this.
  17. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

    @GOG @Ura-Ki is right about helping out other Monkeys. Wish you would have asked for help. Have a small 10x5x3 trailer and if you need to BO let me know and I'll be there.
  18. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Thank you for sharing your experience @GOG. Like everyone else, I have never heard of Rescue Remedy but I think that is something I will need to get. Rescue Remedy Drops and Spray - Original Rescue Remedy I have always thought of taking the dog with me but I think I need more for him besides foods and water. I need to get a cage and something to calm him. You really made me think, about what if we had to stay someplace that the dog could not be left to roam freely. I need to address that issue. I will also need to add grabbing the dogs blanket if we ever have to bug out. His blanket is one of his comforts so that is a must.

    Regarding letting the firemen know of he propane & fuel, did you leave a note? We have all of those plus ammo and some good size fireworks. That is a safety issue for the firefighters.
  19. GOG

    GOG Free American Monkey

    Thank you @Mountainman.

    I've also been looking back on my emotional, physical and spiritual thoughts and actions and trying to be objective. I'll report what I can about that part too if it can be expressed coherently. But it's easier said than done.

    I'll tell you this though, when I looked out the rear window when I left the second time the sky looked like the Gates of Hell.
  20. Mountainman

    Mountainman Großes Mitglied Site Supporter+++

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