As last week's Two Four Two Wildfire billowed just a few miles to the North of home. Dave and I loaded the car and truck with financial papers, a few family heirlooms and camping gear (housing options for evacuees getting slimmer by the hour), and consigned most everything else to the flames. Chances were good that we'd loose everything, the house, the cars, and lots of stuff. I however, had only one huge regret. I couldn't evacuate the sheep.
|The Five Sheep of The Apocalypse|
When planning for them - I thought I'd covered everything. They had a shady, clean and dry spot to sleep, plenty of pasture to graze, a secure boarder fence to keep them in, and the coyotes out. One thing I hadn't figured on however, was how to evacuate them in the case of a wildfire. Dave and I do not have any type of livestock trailer, or even pen that we could jury rig in the back of the truck.
Oblivious to all, Big, Little, Brownie, Roman and Brownie Boy, just went about their daily routine. A little grazing, a sip of water, an hour to two of ruminating in the shade, repeat. All we could do was hope that if the fire came the firefighters would cut the fence and let them out. It was a realistic plan. Given that the fire would come from the North, and that the sheep pasture, boarding the road on two sides, would be the fire line, there was an excellent chance that this would be where they stopped the fire.
At least that's what I rationalized. Once we were all packed and had a spare moment, I began researching other options. Livestock evacuation, especially where there is more livestock than people is a big operation.
Here in Klamath County, as soon as the fire started, the Fairground sent notice that the barns, stalls and turn outs were receiving animals. Volunteers mobilized to tend them for owners who themselves had been evacuated. Farmers and agricultural supply businesses donated bedding and feed. People posted used social media to send out requests for help, other people responded. Folks donated their own pastures, barns and food. From our house we watched empty trailers going North, full trailers coming back - even as huge black smoke clouds rose above us.
|Fire? What fire? |
Dave and I, and the sheep are all safe for now. But the fires are still burning, and there is a new fire watch for this evening and into tomorrow. I've got a better idea of what to do if we need to evacuate soon. Next year - there will be more fires - and I'll have a sure means, and place to take the sheep.