Sometimes S’mores and Marshmallows aren’t an option, folks…

27 Jun

It seems like every time I turn around, Colorado is on fire.

Many of my readers know that I have several ISBU projects in Colorado. I talk to families down there almost daily.

Now, I’m figuring that somebody there either really hacked the big guy upstairs off, or he’s testing the resolve of Colorado residents? Oy.

In this Saturday, June 23, 2012 photo provided by Darrell Spangler, a firefighter works the scene of a home being consumed by flames in Estes Park, Colo. As many as 21 structures were destroyed by the fire on Saturday. Eight separate wildfires are burning across Colorado, which is seeing record-breaking heat. (AP Photo/Darrell Spangler)

Wildfires happen without warning. One minute you’re watching a sunset or kicking it at the river… the next, you’re fighting through the flames to save somebody’s home and hearth.

AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Susannah Kay

“Red Sky at morning, sailor take warning. Red sky at night?”

In Colorado that means – OH CRAP!

Looks pretty serene, huh? This isn’t a “sunset”, folks. It’s THIS:

AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Christian Murdock

I talked to a dear friend today who is right in the heart of all the “fire and brimstone”. She’s doing just fine and she’s safe for now, but I wonder about all that ash that is sure to be added to the air. I wonder how it’s going to affect her family, her livestock, and now, mine… as I’ll have (4) horses in sanctuary at her place, real soon.

I’m talking like, in a week.

Oy again… Oy, oy, freakin’ oy.

And, the fires burning down there are going to be burning for a while. They are nowhere near contained.

The fire is jumping like a decathlon champ, leaping from firebreak to firebreak and now it’s raging again, with major fires down Colorado Springs way… mostly uncontained. 😦

It’s not just Colorado, either, Fires are consuming everything  in their paths in Utah  and Montana, too. Oy.

AP Photo/The Deseret News, Scott G. Winterton

Even Hawaii is on fire? What the heck is going on? I mean, fires aren’t supposed to rage through Paradise… Wait, I forgot about volcanoes and lava…

Did I ever tell ya the story about my  Spring Break trip to Hawaii where they tried to toss my “red-necked butt” into “Mukamuka-redneck-bahhh”? Ah,  never mind…

In the meantime, here on the homefront, many residents with fire experience are getting regular calls from forestry guys, looking for gear and manpower to fight the flames.

So, what do you do when your world bursts into flames?

What should you do BEFORE your home is endangered by fire?

Life in these times is about mitigating risk. Around here, we teach our readers HOW to head off the bad stuff, so that when crisis comes, they have time and energy to help those less fortunate.

I deal with fire like I deal with relatives. I keep ’em at great distance from my house. 🙂

One of the best ways to keep fire from biting you on the proverbial butt is to create a safety ring around your home. That means insuring that dead plants, garbage and debris are removed.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that 10 or 20 feet of clearance is enough. Fire can jump a LONG way to find something to consume. Clear out as much “safety” as you can. In my view, 100 feet isn’t near enough.

Lots of people in our neck of the woods live in log homes.

LAPORTE, CO  - JUNE 11:  A Sikorsky S-64 Aircrane firefighting helicopter drops water on a hotspot burning close to homes near Horsetooth Reservoir June 11, 2012 near Laporte, Colorado. The High Park Fire in Larimer County has burned almost 37,000 acres and damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures. There is no containment of the fire, which is burning in the mountains about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, Co.

Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images

Talk about “Cabin Fever”… Oy.

They are long on atmosphere, but “bad juju” when fire comes calling. You have to coat those logs with fire-retardant, and you have to stay on top of re-treating them. If you get lazy, you’re gonna be kindling.

If you’re the “blueblood” type with ivy growing up your walls, you might wanna rethink that in “FireLand”… That foliage can shelter an ember and start a blaze right up against your house.

I’m teaching families how to build affordable, sustainable homes using ISBUs (Shipping Containers) and recycled and reclaimed materials. There’s a reason that I use steel and stone outside my homes. It’s NON- combustible.

Okay, so not everyone wants to live in a “steel and stone” palace. Two words. HARDIE PLANK. Cement based siding is your friend. It’s durable, low maintenance and it doesn’t burn. I talk about this wonderful stuff so often that those James Hardie guys oughta be siding MY house and sending me paychecks.

And that’s just the beginning of what needs to happen before “fire comes a courtin'”…

Once you determine that your home is in danger, your FAMILY is in danger. You better have a plan.

AP Photo/Ed Andrieski

I repeat, you BETTER have a PLAN.

Next time, we’ll talk about Emergency planning.

People are gonna send me mail about “veering off-course”. Planning for disasters is a PART of home building, folks. The sooner you figure that out, the safer your family will be.

So just keep the hate mail, huh? I get enough of it already.

Stay safe, stay cool and stay outta harm’s way, okay?