Tonight I did something I have never, ever done in my whole entire life!
I have lived in Florida, Illinois, California, and Texas. In Florida there are hurricanes, Illinois has tornadoes, California gets earthquakes, mudslides, and wildfires, Texas has drought which brings about great danger of fire.
When I was 14, Hurricane Donna passed right through our town. There was a lot of wind damage, broken windows, trees down, and a week without power or water and no school. At 14 the one that had the biggest impact as no school! A whole week without classes! That wasn't bad news to us kids!
In Chicago, we had several tornado warnings and watches every year. But despite having them all around us, I never even saw a funnel cloud.
In California, despite living there for 10 years, I never experienced a major quake. The wildfires and mudslides were typically close to L.A., but we lived near San Jose and those things were not too much of a threat to that area.
And now here in Texas this is the third time since we came here that we have official drought and this is the worst of the three! We haven't had rain for months, so now there are mandatory water restrictions. The grass and trees are like tinder and crops and livestock are are extreme risk. But the biggest danger is fire.
And today, the fires arrived. There are severe wildfires and residential fires all around Austin....to the Southeast in Bastrop....to the Southwest in Spicewood....to the Northwest in Cedar Park....and to the North in Pflugerville....and only 5 miles South down the road from us in a development called Steiner Ranch. According to the news there were somewhere between 20-30 homes destroyed in that development!! There was heavy smoke visible to the South and West. We could even smell the smoke by our house. As fire goes, that is pretty damn close! There are several mandatory evacuations being enforced. And it has been extremely windy all day.
There hasn't been any mention made of immediate danger or evacuations for us, but wind and fire are a deadly combination and are capricious and unpredictable. There is STILL no sign of rain anywhere in our immediate future, so once these types of fires start, it's up to firefighters and others to get it under control. There is no help from the skies!
So tonight, the Big Guy and I packed up all of our photographs, especially the irreplaceable and treasured ones. We got out our fire resistant box for important papers and added in some other things that we wanted to protect. We (well, at least I, Mikey said he's get to it) packed a bag with some clean clothes, my medications, my good jewelry (of which there is very little!), my favorite hairbrush and makeup stuff, pajamas, some shoes, socks, clean undies, and my camera, phone, and Kindle. All of them are packed and standing at the door to the garage, ready to load.
Space has been made in both cars. If necessary, they can be loaded into the cars in about 5 minutes. If we get a call to evacuate we will grab the laptop and the 2 CPUs, and can be out of the house in 10 minutes or less, and save our most important belongings to boot!
We're as ready as we can be. There are other things I wish we could carry out quickly, but the rest of the things are just....things! Replaceable and without emotional ties. But those things we love are already packed up and are ready to move; they will stay standing by the doorway until the damn drought is OVER and the rains are once again falling on our lands.
And then, the only time I ever want to consider "Fire and Rain" is when I hear Sweet Baby James (Taylor) sing!!
Cripes, this has been one pip of a year!
To my fellow Texas Bloggers, stay safe and stay alert!