- July 2010: Vol. 22 No. 7

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Worst-Case Scenario: Being Prepared Isn’t Just for Boy Scouts

by Ryan Mattox

A few years ago, before joining IREI, I lived in the coastal mountains of Southern California in Silverado Canyon, a small mining town that extends into Cleveland National Forest. In October 2007, an arsonist started a fire near our home. At first we thought we were safely out of the fire’s reach, but we soon decided to evacuate. We packed up the pets and all of the irreplaceable keepsakes we could fit into our car and left. Our prudence was driven by the fact that ours was the last house of about 350 homes, in a canyon with only one way out — a narrow, winding, two-lane road that led straight toward the origin of the fire.

Many of the rough and tumble canyon residents mocked what they believed to be our unnecessary evacuation. But 12 hours later, at 2 a.m., those neighbors were forced to follow suit, woken by the fire marshal who gave them 30 minutes to evacuate.

The fires m

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