Last October, we were under mandatory evacuation orders due to the Kincade Fire. Despite this, we decided to stay put as the fire was (and remained) miles away.
The current Coronavirus “shelter in place” order again has us “hunkering down.” In many ways, it feels similar – life is suspended, things are definitely not normal and it feels like we’re all sitting around, waiting for something to happen.
However, at the moment, I can tell you that I far prefer this “stay put” order over hunkering down because of a raging fire. Here’s why:
1. We have electricity. At our house, since we’re on a well, that means we also have water. Or, conversely, no electricity means no water. Let me tell you, when you’re cooped up at home with your family, hot water and showers, or really. . . just water at all, means a whole lot.
2. The horses are at home. While we chose to not evacuate during the Kincade Fire, we did, out of an abundance of caution, evacuate the horses to the fairgrounds.
The above picture is the herd, safe at the fairgrounds. Having them at home gives us something to do and lends some structure to the day (they have to be fed twice a day, turned out, etc.). The barn gives me a place to “escape” to and spending time with the horses gives my 14 year old daughter something to do.
3. We can leave the property, even if it is just for “essentials”. During the Kincade Fire, there were manned police barricades everywhere. We were slightly concerned that if we left home, we wouldn’t be allowed back. So, we didn’t leave our property.
4. During the Kincade Fire, not only did we not leave the property, we didn’t really go outside. Why? Because the sky looked like this.
So no walking the dog, no enjoying lunch outside . . . we were really stuck inside the house, again, without electricity or water. So. Much. Fun.
5. We’re not packed to leave at a moment’s notice. During the Kincade Fire, everything we deemed “important” was packed into three of our cars (our 17 year old drives – 3 drivers; 3 cars). Every night we’d get our suitcases out of the car, unpack our toothbrushes, etc. Every morning, we’d zip those up and put them back in the car. Kind of exhausting and a daily reminder that we might have to leave. And that leaving might be for good.
6. Coronavirus is an emergency but not quite in the same way. We aren’t huddled around the scanner, listening to the police and fire traffic. My husband and I aren’t up every two hours (the first night of the Kincade Fire we didn’t really sleep at all), listening to the wind, going outside to see if anything changed, monitoring our local radio station. Fire has a whole different level of stress.
Our Shelter in Place order was issued on March 18. So, we’re 13 days in. I’m not sure there’s an end in sight. That’s another difference . . . we knew the fire was eventually going to be put out; it wasn’t going to drag on for months and months. When this ends is anyone’s guess.
I’m grateful that our lives have not been upended as much as some. My husband’s work is considered “essential” so he’s still working, although it has slowed down a bit. I am concerned about our long term financial picture but I’m not concerned about how we’re going to put food on the table. And, again, there’s a whole lot to be said for electricity and water!