Fire! I've been told never to use an exclamation point in my writing unless I'm yelling, "Fire!" So I'll say it again, "Fire!"
New Mexico is burning. We are drier than anyone can remember in recent history. The moisture content of the trees and brush burning near Los Alamos was 3%, per the fire chief. Our overall humidity has been under 10% for days. The desert is brown, our lawns are brown. One spark from a match, an engine exhaust, a tossed cigarette, fireworks, or lightning and up we go into flames.
Yet the governor and mayor say they can't ban the sale of fireworks, unless the state legislature changes the law. A classic example of industry lobbying gone astray—once again. Officials are pleading with TV viewers not to use fireworks anywhere, and attend large public displays instead. How can we know those are safe? How important are fireworks when the next thing that may be ablaze is your home? Come on, folks, look at the big picture.
I have my fire list ready, my plans for what to take with me when fire erupts. It is pretty small: credit cards, passports, phone and charger, a small container of important documents, and a pair of sneakers. We have our computers backed up off-site, and our recent photos are backed up as well. Folks say they'd grab their photos first thing, but they're not so important to me. If I have time, I'll grab my cameras, the German wall clock and my grandmother's clock, and my cache of funky earrings---because these things would make me feel at home if all else is lost. I've taken a photographic inventory of my home, which is backed up on my computer. How else can I prepare?
But how can anyone prepare for a total loss of one's home, everything wiped clean, foundation cluttered with rubble or ashes? It would be a chance for a fresh start, but without the grounding of shared history, tangible evidence of memories. It might be a tornado in Kansas or a fire in New Mexico or a flood in Minot.
I've reached an age where letting go of the tangibles might not be so traumatic, but you never know till you've been there. Please, God, not me!