I sent out a mailer to everyone who owns property in Walker and Potato Patch according to the county tax records.
Here are just the links in that mailer.
Sign up for CodeRed alerts:
Email Loren Bykerk about FireWise:
Walker FaceBook Group:
Give a donation to Walker Volunteer Fire Department:
10 THINGS I LEARNED FROM THE GOODWIN FIRE
So, that just happened.
The Goodwin Fire burned 28,516 acres, just over the hill, a couple miles from our full time home in Walker.
I thought we were prepared for a fire. I was wrong.
1. Code Red Surprised Me.
When things started to get serious, I signed up on their web page, with 3 phone numbers and 2 text numbers.
20 minutes later, all of our phones started to ring at the same time, telling us that we were in “pre-evacuation”.
I’m glad we got the notice. I want to know what’s happening, but when I’m on edge anyway, having all 3 phones ring at the same time really surprised me.
2. I’m Horrible At Evacuation.
We thought we were ready. We weren’t.
I found our birth certificates, important photos, our will, and other important paperwork.
When the evacuation notice came in, we ran around, freaked out, trying to remember what to pack.
I had seen some lists of what to take, but I wished we had made a unique, personalized list of what we should to take so I wouldn’t have to remember everything.
When we got to the hotel, I had no toothpaste or toothbrush, and only one extra pair of underware.
3. We Need An Inventory Of Our Belongings.
I assumed that we had home owners insurance, including fire insurance, but I really didn’t know.
We should have gone through our house and made a list of everything we’d want replaced by insurance, with all the descriptions and values.
I hadn’t done this, so I’m glad we didn’t need it.
I did walk around with my iPhone and quickly took videos of all our stuff.
I’m sure I got everything and the insurance company would pay us full value for everything in those videos.
4. We Should Get A Security Cam.
The weirdest thing about being evacuated was the sense that “home” was somewhere else or that it didn’t exist any more, or that the whole place burned to the ground and they just didn’t tell us.
A couple people had web cams, or security cams, set up at their houses, pointed outside.
They would post photos for everyone to see.
It gave a sense of security and normalcy, knowing what was going on back home.
I’m going to talk to Nick at Walker WiFi for help.
5. I’m Glad We Got Firewise Inspected.
Our house is pretty clear of debris and should make it through a fire pretty well.
Loren Bykerk, with the Walker Community Action Alliance, inspected our house last year. He is “the guy” for the FireWise program in Walker.
He knows various people or companies that you can hire to clear your property of dead and down wood and debris.
6. FaceBook Actually Has Value.
(I mean, who doesn’t love a good cat video?)
OK. I know that a lot of people think that FaceBook is a time suck with no positive contribution to humanity. I am sympathetic to that thought.
I was not surprised though, when it became vitally important during the evacuation.
When you are sitting in a hotel room, wondering if your house burned down, knowing that there are other people out there in the same situation as you is very encouraging.
Seeing photos, links to news sources, and official reports, was more valuable that you can imagine.
Join the Potato Patch and Walker Az Bulletin Board group on FaceBook. It’s closed, but they’ll approve you if you ask.
Hat tip to Clyde McKay for starting that group.
7. People In Walker Are Awesome.
While checking FaceBook 20 times a day during the evacuation, I got to virtually meet some of my neighbors.
While there was the occasional spiral of dispair during this emotionally intense time, everyone came together and encouraged each other.
We all shared in those emotions together. There was camaraderie among the huddled masses.
There are some good people here and I’m proud to be among them.
8. Fire Fighters Are Brave, Crazy Heros.
There were a lot of moving pieces to the effort to fight the fire, from the pilots who flew those huge planes too low to the ground to dump retardant, to the guys who sat in our fire station parking lot, waiting to protect our houses.
All of these people did things that I wouldn’t have done.
It’s a cliche to say that firemen are brave, but I don’t know what else I could say. They are brave, crazy heros.
Photos from the fire showed how amazing these guys are.
I am overwhelmed with emotion just thinking about what these guys did for us, for everyone living in Walker.
While I’m overwhelmed with appreciation and thankfulness, I thought it would be a good idea to throw our local volunteer fire deparment another donation as a way to say thank you.
If you want to donate also, visit www.walkerfire.org.
9. I’m Not In Control And Life Is Unpredictable.
I freely admit that I’m a control freak. I am the guy that takes care of business. I always have a plan and a plan B.
If you want something done, I will make it happen.
I’ve gotten better about letting go of control as I’ve grown older, but it’s still how I approach things.
When the Goodwin Fire ripped all control away from me, it was just a reminder that I’m not really in control at all.
Control is just an illusion and life is unpredictable.
10. I’m Thankful.
The Goodwin Fire brought into sharp focus all of the good things that I’ve been given in my life.
When you’re faced with a crisis, the small stuff fades away.
I’m thankful that our house is still standing.
I’m thankful that our beautiful view didn’t burn.
I’m thankful for the people who fought the fire.
I’m thankful for the people that I love and who love me.
I’m thankful for this place that I get to live in.
I love my wife. I love living in Walker.
What else do I need?