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View Poll Results: Have you ever Faced Mandatory Evacuation
Yes 4 30.77%
No 9 69.23%
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:06 AM   #1
Firkinvald 
 
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Default Have you ever faced Mandatory Evacuation?

Have you ever faced mandatory evacuation from your home?

It finally happened to me. On Tuesday at 9:15pm, I received a text from the Sheriff’s dept that said “Prepare to Evacuate”. On Wednesday morning at 9:45am, I received another text that said “Evacuation recommended”. At 11:00am, I received another text “Evacuation Mandatory” and by 1pm the police were at our door to make sure we left.

Why …. A wildfire named Goodwin (see https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5278/ for details).

My wife and I and our two West Highland Terriers live in a home on a 4 acre parcel of land on a dirt road outside a small Arizona town. Our nearest neighbors are ¼ mile away. The terrain is scrub oak 4 to 8 feet in height with mountains in the distance. We are situated on the side of a hill. We have a well and use propane. We have satellite internet and only use cellphones.

The fire started on Saturday, June 24th near a community called Pine Flat located about 11 miles from us over several mountains. By Sunday, it had grown large enough so that we could see smoke. By Tuesday, we were having some ash fall on our driveway.

Wednesday morning (6am prior to the mandatory evac notice) I loaded up a truck full of valuables and delivered them to a vacant house 15 miles away. Fortunately for us, some out of state friends had purchased a home, but had not moved in yet. Some of their furniture was there, so we had a place to go to. 3400 people were evacuated from several communities and many were forced to stay in shelters (two local schools, of which one had to be shut down because the fire got close to the community).

Separate shelters were also set up for animals. Over 100 cats and dogs were sheltered. also over 100 large animals ... horses, pigs, goats, etc.

On my way back from this first truckload, I got the text for mandatory evac. My wife and I threw belongings into bins and food into 4 coolers and loaded up the truck and car as fast as we could … and left just as the police arrived to chase us out.

We were allowed to return after 3 days (that was Saturday July 1st). We were lucky. Our power had not been cut off, the propane was intact and the house and property was untouched. Today, even though the fire is still burning (only 75% contained), we are safe. On one of the surrounding mountains there is a broad red streak, approximately 2 miles long. This is the fire retardant dropped by one of the 3 DC-10’s that worked the fire. Even before we left, the sky was filled with helicopters carrying buckets of the red slurry and a constant drone of planes coming and going
.
We were extremely lucky. There are still at least 500 people in a half dozen communities that have not been allowed to return home. There are at least 8 homes that have been destroyed. Over 1000 people have been without power (we had a freezer filled with food and even the food in our refrigerator was safe). And one home has been vandalized.

The fire has so far consumed over 27,000 acres (over 40 square miles). It is 75% controlled. Over 1200 personnel from at least 4 states have worked on it and they expect it to be fully under control by July 13th.

One last thing of note. Someone flew a drone into the wildfire are and this shut down all air operations for a short period of time. When there is a drone in the area, the firefighting aircraft are not allowed to fly as the drone is not visible and an aircraft mishap may occur. And while the firefighting aircraft are not in the air, home and lives can be lost. Fortunately, this was only for a few hours. The drone operator has been caught and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

If you have ever been forced to evacuate and wish to share your story, please post it here. Meanwhile, I have to go back to unpacking.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Have you ever faced Mandatory Evacuation?

Forced to evacuate from the Keys years ago for hurricane George. Was I pain in the ass, but I know how relieved you must feel Firkinvald. Luckily your family and house are safe.
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Old 07-03-2017, 02:52 PM   #3
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Default Re: Have you ever faced Mandatory Evacuation?

I live in such a rural county that I'm 99% sure a mandatory evacuation would be nearly impossible with competent local law enforcement. Given the state of my county's geography to do a mandatory evacuation would require national guard presence which is likely given my proximity to a military base.

However I luckily never have had to evacuate or face that threat. Hurricanes tend to be just bad storms by the time they make it far enough inland to hit me if at all, I live in a mountainous area that prevents flooding being a major concern and tornadoes are rare in this part of the state.

Really the only major concerns that I really have to worry about is possibilty of a gas leak, the military base is one of the last places in the US to store chemical weapons, and a very large fault line in the western part of the state. Given the nature of those two things not too much I can do other than hope and pray nothing ever goes wrong in my lifetime.
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Old 07-03-2017, 04:20 PM   #4
KittaOmega
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Default Re: Have you ever faced Mandatory Evacuation?

We've had evac orders for hurricanes and almost had one for the west mims fire not long ago. I always laugh a little because when I lived in PR, we never got evac orders even though we had hurricanes galore there while I was a kid. I remember one was so bad that the roof was torn off the house, and a second one were my mom and uncle locked me in the bathroom with the dogs because the door to the house was shaking violently and they were trying to hold it, since screwing it to the frame wasn't helping.

We've been really lucky to not have had any house damage during the last storm, even though we were in its path and had to leave the house. Couldn't take the dogs with us, which of course messed with me, but my kids were more important. A lot of people within a few miles of our home weren't so lucky.
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Old 07-03-2017, 05:25 PM   #5
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Default Re: Have you ever faced Mandatory Evacuation?

Only faced evacuation training/instructions, and it was when I was living in Japan.
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Old 07-03-2017, 07:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Have you ever faced Mandatory Evacuation?

The most dramatic I could imagine happening where I live is a giant groundhogs attack. Thankfully it hasn't happened yet. So no.
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