Final report on Bug Out.
I returned home last night. Some rain has been helping out then and today. No smoke at this time. The fire got within about mile and a half to two miles from me, and burned down to the road in several spots. The historic Fenn Ranger station had fire to their back yard. I have not been to see all the destruction, the roads are still closed. My road is closed to all but firefighters and residents. Two years of evacuations in a row. I am hoping for wet times for a few years.
The AS was great, as you might imagine. It gave me some sense of security and comfort to have my own things. Much better than a motel or a cot in a public shelter. That would have been very stressful.
Take your medications and medical devices with you, I did not take enough for a two week extended stay, which could have even been longer. Take food, although usually you can get more on the road, but not always in things like hurricanes. Take clothes for 2 weeks, after that wash or buy more. Have your water tank full and leave it that way. Good water is not always available, especially to fill the tank. Use it sparingly until are sure of your next source. I had to be careful as my FC 20' only has a 23 gal tank. I filled it several times with a portable 7 gal tote and a 12 volt
pump (I can't lift the 7 gal tank easily, hell to get old).
Gray water can be dumped out like in the old days, especially in emergency situations. I did not even find FS campground hosts to be hostile to the idea when needed. ("just do it after dark, our plants need the water..."). I only had to definitely dump my black water tank once after the first 10 days out, and I found a dump station to do that. I did dump twice more, as there were public dump stations I saw while driving, looking for smoke free campgrounds. Here in the west, many small towns have them for convenience of tourists and residents.
Keep at least one propane tank full if possible. I started out with two full tanks as I had just returned from another trip and one had become used up, and I had just filled it. On this bug out trip of 16 days, I used one full 30# tank over 14 days for refrigeration, water heating, cooking and heat. The second tank is only slightly used now. I did not need too much heat but it did go down to 42F on 3 nights.
I had added 200 watts of solar to my trailer and have a pair of 6 volt golf cart batteries for power. I use a Tri Metric meter for monitoring. The lowest it went was 78% battery capacity, even after 3 smokey, no sunshine days. I had no grid hookups at all. I did not bring a generator. When I returned yesterday I was up to 98% capacity. It was a sunny day and the Jeep also charges when towing.
It is nice to be home though. It is nice to have a home to come back too. Thank you National Forest Service and fire crews and all the taxes it takes to do that. We all pay them and use some services they provide.
And it is nice to see rain here again today.