Let me start off by first saying: we are safe! Now, let me tell you the story of the day our neighborhood was on fire. It was last Tuesday, and we started the day off with an early-morning hike. My brother and I were lounging around; life was good and normal until…
Mom was coming home from running some errands, and she saw the smoke. The closer she got to our exit (Carefree Highway off I-17), the more worried she became. It was really close. In fact, as she turned on 27th Drive, the fire trucks were just ahead of her. Smoke was billowing on our street. As she pulled into the driveway, fire fighters on the scene said “be prepared to evacuate quickly.” It is then I saw my mom kick into a gear I’ve never seen.
Within minutes, she was inside grabbing my brother’s cat carrier and putting me on a leash. I thought, “Yippy, another adventure! Where to this time?” Except, she placed us in the car with the AC on, and there we sat. We didn’t move. What kind of adventure was this??
Mom loaded up the most important of things: people, pets, papers, and prescriptions. She says that if you have 20 minutes or less, focus on these. The fire started down the street at the corner, soon to be called the “Aquila Fire.” Apparently, it was started by some hoodlum kids, and some neighbors saw them start it, laugh and leave. Okay, who does this? How can a human have so little respect for nature and other living beings? My doggy brain can’t comprehend such an atrocity.
Anyway, the flames quickly rose to 30-feet tall! Over 500 fire fighters came to help, and we thank everyone one of them. They didn’t have much wiggle room with houses all around. If the winds had not shifted, our entire neighborhood in Tramonto would have burned, with countless homes lost. Are you prepared? Are you ready in case of an emergency? My mom was, and we are grateful.
Since we had a little more time, mom went to Phase Two of her preparedness plan: power plugs for devices, personal and professional attire and some personal items that were irreplaceable. Food was not a priority because that can be purchased, but she did grab our special food and water bowls. For three hours, we were ready to evacuate if necessary. Big jumbo jets flew overhead and dropped red stuff on our mountain. Mom said that was to define a fire line and hopefully keep the fire moving up the gully away from us.
Just when we thought the fire was under control, it tried to come back over the hill. Ugh! We watched as multiple planes and helicopters fought the fire. All in all, it scorched 1,000 acres of our beautiful Sonoran Desert and destroyed one home over in Joy Ranch. We send our heart-felt prayers to that family, and we thank God no one (animal or human) was hurt.
Lessons learned? The time to prepare for a crisis is not during it! My mom was calm, cool and collected. She said “being prepared provided her peace of mind.” Our entire house is inventoried, down to the last fork. All our important papers/computers were in the safe with us. You may think this will never happen to you, but it could at any time, no matter where you live. We live in the dry desert, and accidents happen! If someone should leave their stove on and burn their house down, you could be at risk. Lightening could strike your house and cause a fire. Be prepared and have an emergency plan in place.
With July 4th around the corner, I plead with you: please do not shoot off fireworks. Most animals hate them, and I am no exception. With the lack of rain and windy conditions, we are ripe for another fire. You may think you will be safe and know what you are doing, but it takes just one spark.
By dinner time, most of the fire was out with a few hot spots left in Joy Ranch. Mom took us back in the house where we both got a big drink of water. Mom said we were brave boys as we didn’t panic. She made it easy because she was calm, and we trusted her. I think we all slept with one eye and ear open that night, but as I mentioned: we are safe. Let’s make this a happy but safe holiday.
My mom, Lorraine Bossé-Smith is kind enough to help me share my Great Adventures, big and small. My mom is a motivational speaker, corporate trainer, business consultant, executive coach, behavioral-wellness expert, and author of nine published books. More importantly, she’s the best doggy mom ever!
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Get outside! You never know what you’ll discover, and our paths just might cross. Happy tails!