Fire sheds protection for valuables, speeding wildfire evacuation
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KOLO) -Drive through this Upper Truckee neighborhood on South Lake Tahoe’s southwestern edge and it’s not hard to imagine the chaos seen here nearly 15 years ago.
The Angora Fire raced through this area destroying 280 homes and commercial buildings.
People here have mostly rebuilt in the years since, but the scars remain. So do the memories of hard choices that June day.
People living here had very little time to evacuate and had to make some tough decisions very quickly.
“I walked outside and there was a cloud arching over the neighborhood,” remembers one resident, Lisa. “And basically needed to get out. I grabbed a 40-pound bag of dog food, my two dogs, some clothes and left.”
She left behind many of the kinds of items all of us have, irreplaceable things, family photos. Fortunately, they and her home survived.
Last August it happened again. It was different. The Caldor Fire gave plenty of notice.
Wisely, she loaded up her car and took it to a succession of friends’ homes, finally leaving as the entire town emptied.
“We all looked like the Clampetts,” she says. “We were stuffed to the gills and headed out of town.”
Eventually, she and the rest of the town returned. She still has all that she took with her. Others weren’t so lucky. Their cars were attractive marks for thieves wherever they fled.
“One of my neighbors actually had all of their important things in the car and they evacuated to San Francisco. Their car was broken into and things as silly as family photos, everything was taken.”
Of course, the greatest danger is people delaying their departure while they decide what to take.
“I don’t ever want to evacuate like that again.” So she went looking for a solution and on Friday, it was taking shape outside her home.
It’s called a fire shed by manufacturer Mighty Firebreaker. A small shed made of fire-resistant materials, an insulated and secure place to stash valuables you wouldn’t want to lose, but would rather not take with you.
“Now that fire season is basically every minute that there isn’t snow on the ground, this shed is going to provide me some comfort.”
Hopefully, it will never be used. But if it ever is, it could make all the difference.
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