Sunday, July 06, 2008

Brush Fire Problems

It has been a difficult few days. A raging brush fire is just a couple of canyons from our house and studio. For two days we have been under an evacuation warning, sitting with most of our bags packed, ready to go at a moments notice. Others have been forced to evacuate already.

Eighteen years ago we were caught in another faster moving brush fire and had to evacuate with less than five minutes notice. At that time we lost the house and everything in it.

This time we have plenty of notice. But what do you take? I have probably two hundred paintings stored or hanging in the house and studio.

From the last fire we learnt that the most difficult things to replace are personal photographs. Images of the children growing up. Of our parents. Markers of our history. Almost everything else is replaceable. Today we live in a beautiful new and much more fireproof modern home - all paid for from the insurance money. We found that a large number of things we lost really we never did use, and we did not replace. And, those we needed were only things!

This time the first into my car were our personal photographs. Followed by our medications, a change of clothes, just a few simple things. We put the cars in the driveway, ready to go. We have lost power several times over the last few days, making opening the garage doors an issue.

Over the last twenty or so years our computers have become more and more important as a depository of our life's records. A few weeks ago I was solicited for an off site computer backup service ( I use an external hard drive to back up my computer, but with the prior fire in the back of my mind, I have always been nervous of having bothe the original and the backup in the house. The outside service is a division of one of the largest backup organizations in the business. The service cost me $200 for two years. I have about 125GB of data to back up. It took about three weeks to upload all the data the first time. Now changes and new data upload in about half an hour at night. With the new fire, that is peace of mind.

This morning, things look a lot better. Many people have been able to return to their homes. The fire crews are working wonders, helped by diminishing winds and higher humidity. We are not out of it yet, but are moving in the right direction.

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