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Survival and Preparations Long and short term survival and 'prepping'.

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  #1  
Old 09-08-2017, 11:16 AM
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Default Homebrew Wildland Fire Suppression Systems

So we recently moved to an "extreme wildland fire hazard" area. We aren't totally in the boonies, we have a paved street, fire hydrants, etc. First thing we did when we moved in was spend almost $3k in tree work cutting back dead and overgrown trees to improve our defensible space. Next we hauled over 2 tons of dead brush off the property. I feel much better about our defensive posture, but was wondering if anyone has some homebrewed fire suppression systems. Besides defensible space, what are some other things you are all doing to stay safe from wildland fires?
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Old 09-08-2017, 9:19 PM
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I have a portable, gas powered 75psi water pump and a few hundred feet of 1.5 inch fire hose along with 5 thousand gallons of water supply from my own tank. I keep a set of fire resistive clothes, helmet, gogles, gloves and nomex hood to protect me from blowing embers should I need to deploy the fire hose.

The biggest challenge is to know when to try and stay and fight or when it's time to get out. Terrain, defensible space, wind, humidity, size and intensity of approaching fire are all factors to consider. Defensible space and fire resistive construction are your first priority. Without that, there's no point in sticking around.
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Old 09-09-2017, 6:15 AM
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Reminded me of this thread:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s....php?t=1112939
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Old 09-09-2017, 7:17 AM
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If resources were available & I had a property as you described, one of the first things to address after those you posted would be fire suppression sprinklers in the trees around property (thinking 100ft around house, including home)

Something I could turn on an leave on in the event of a wild land fire.

Metal pipes into trees would be my thinking as if they burn your hosed. Also would research some kind of check valving on each tree line (Idk if this is available or not) so if pressure is lost at one it would shutdown that line only.

I've thought about this before, and this is always my first thought to wild fire situation on home front.

Good luck with your property Op.
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Old 09-09-2017, 9:00 AM
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Do some research into back burns. My house is on the bottom third of a large hill backing open space. With a proper back burn my house would have a way better chance. I'm ready when the time comes.

I'd spend more time evaluating wether you truly have a defensible space with fool proof evacuation routes before spending a dime. Some areas due to the roads and topography are a complete write off.

Without any significant natural barriers individual fire protection is tough. I'm lucky, I got the beach on one side and the hill on the other. So if I can't get a decent back burn on the hill I can literally run to the sand dunes and ocean for safety. If I was surrounded by grasslands I'm not sure I would stay. Blowing embers can carry miles and cut off escape routes.

Last edited by deckhandmike; 09-09-2017 at 9:15 AM..
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Old 09-09-2017, 9:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twinfin View Post
I have a portable, gas powered 75psi water pump and a few hundred feet of 1.5 inch fire hose along with 5 thousand gallons of water supply from my own tank. I keep a set of fire resistive clothes, helmet, gogles, gloves and nomex hood to protect me from blowing embers should I need to deploy the fire hose.

The biggest challenge is to know when to try and stay and fight or when it's time to get out. Terrain, defensible space, wind, humidity, size and intensity of approaching fire are all factors to consider. Defensible space and fire resistive construction are your first priority. Without that, there's no point in sticking around.
Very good advice. Don't forget an able body as well.

Defensible space is a must. Water is next. Without those 2 you need to leave.

We had a number of clients refuse to evacuate and literally saved their homes with buckets of water in 2007. They had space and simply walked around dousing embers that landed on or near combustible material. There were no firefighters in the area.

Last edited by therealnickb; 09-09-2017 at 9:36 AM..
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Old 09-09-2017, 4:52 PM
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It's kind of like moving to Fl and trying to decide if you leave or try and ride out a hurricane. Well, smart money is leaving and let insurance pay for a rebuild if needed.....better than getting dead. I've had the unfortunate experience of both wild fire one hurricane....I would leave for both but if forced to choose I would take a hurricane, the fire was one of the scariest thing I've experienced.
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Old 09-10-2017, 8:27 AM
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buddy of mine put a 2500 gallon tank on his property ,hooked up to a well,ran a sprinkler system on his roof and a mister under his eves. in case of fire his house has water all over it 24/7....
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Old 09-10-2017, 12:44 PM
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When I was living up in the mountains, I started gathering parts for a "hot-spot" rig. This was going to be a modified two-axle boat trailer carrying a 250 gal. (repurposed propane) tank, a (Harbor Freight) gas powered pump, about 100 feet of 1 1/2" hose and nozzle, and a couple water-truck type sprinklers.

I left to "pursue other interests" before it could all be assembled, so I have no idea how well it would have worked.
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Old 09-10-2017, 1:22 PM
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Here ya go. http://www.firegel.com/
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I am more of a sucker than a blower...
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Old 09-10-2017, 2:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deckhandmike View Post
Do some research into back burns. My house is on the bottom third of a large hill backing open space. With a proper back burn my house would have a way better chance. I'm ready when the time comes.

I'd spend more time evaluating wether you truly have a defensible space with fool proof evacuation routes before spending a dime. Some areas due to the roads and topography are a complete write off.

Without any significant natural barriers individual fire protection is tough. I'm lucky, I got the beach on one side and the hill on the other. So if I can't get a decent back burn on the hill I can literally run to the sand dunes and ocean for safety. If I was surrounded by grasslands I'm not sure I would stay. Blowing embers can carry miles and cut off escape routes.
Do not back burn!!! That is a quick way to get arrested, and if your back burn causes injuries, property damage or kills some one it's going to be charged the same way an arson would be charged. Not a good idea.
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Old 09-10-2017, 2:39 PM
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If you have a shake roof, or asphalt shingle, replace with fire resistant concrete roofing or metal. If you have wood siding, replace with stucco or such. I'd put a galvanized pipe sprinkler system, around your house and on you roof. Program it to turn on with a timer, or even better by iPhone if you figure out how to do it.
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Old 09-10-2017, 5:59 PM
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Do not back burn!!! That is a quick way to get arrested, and if your back burn causes injuries, property damage or kills some one it's going to be charged the same way an arson would be charged. Not a good idea.
I'm well aware. If it's at that point the FD has already left. Starting a fire right next to a fire isn't a giant concern personally. Cutting a fire off a 100 yards in advance of something that's going to burn down without intervention is a calculated risk.
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Old 09-10-2017, 7:37 PM
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I'm well aware. If it's at that point the FD has already left. Starting a fire right next to a fire isn't a giant concern personally. Cutting a fire off a 100 yards in advance of something that's going to burn down without intervention is a calculated risk.

You and I understand how this works , but personally I don't think it's wise to suggest people with 0 experience or training to backfire around their homes no matter how close the fire is to them.
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Old 09-10-2017, 8:02 PM
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Build a moat with water in it or a 10ft wide dirt scrape around your perimeter, your sprinklers and garden hose are good for tiny stuff but won't do anything for large fires, a backpack pump is good to have around like a 9gal cemelback pump or a fire broom
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Old 09-10-2017, 8:11 PM
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A tile roof.

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Old 09-10-2017, 8:16 PM
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Originally Posted by deckhandmike View Post
I'm well aware. If it's at that point the FD has already left. Starting a fire right next to a fire isn't a giant concern personally. Cutting a fire off a 100 yards in advance of something that's going to burn down without intervention is a calculated risk.
You may need to do a little more research. 100 yards? Nope.
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Old 09-10-2017, 8:19 PM
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A tile roof.

That was Oakland right?

Crazy hillside builds. Way too many homes in a compact area.
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Old 09-10-2017, 8:20 PM
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Build a moat with water in it or a 10ft wide dirt scrape around your perimeter, your sprinklers and garden hose are good for tiny stuff but won't do anything for large fires, a backpack pump is good to have around like a 9gal cemelback pump or a fire broom
Brilliant
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:53 PM
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You and I understand how this works , but personally I don't think it's wise to suggest people with 0 experience or training to backfire around their homes no matter how close the fire is to them.
Yeah, my bad. Full disclaimer, you will most likely screw this up and it could end tragically. I did do the whole fire science thing and FF for a living. Good advice smokeyfs.
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Old 09-10-2017, 10:56 PM
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You may need to do a little more research. 100 yards? Nope.
The fuel on my area is grazed grass with no brush or trees. Pretty low intensity stuff. A real fire is a different animal. You are correct actual fuel would require a way larger margin.

OP, any overhead shots of your neighborhood? Would be interesting to see what you are working with.
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Old 09-11-2017, 5:27 AM
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That was Oakland right?

Crazy hillside builds. Way too many homes in a compact area.
Yup. That was the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. Hard to believe that was 26 years ago.
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Old 09-11-2017, 7:42 AM
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Yup. That was the 1991 Oakland Hills fire. Hard to believe that was 26 years ago.
The insurance industry gave themselves a black eye on that one. But, they learned a lot. So did many homeowners that had ignored skyrocketing building costs. A huge number of folks were way way underinsured in CA at that time.
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Old 09-11-2017, 7:55 AM
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Fire pump and hose in the creek is primary. The creek is a permanent waterway between two lakes and never runs dry and very few properties touch it before mine so I figure it's good to go. From the looks of the trees around the place there hasn't been any fire in ten generations but one never knows. Backup is a gas-powered high pressure pump with a foam cannon. Normally I use it to clean vehicles and shop jobs. It can foam down a house the size of mine pretty quick.

Everything on the property is metal sided and/or framed. Only potential exposed woods are a couple decks and those are easily foamed or watered.

A couple weeks ago when the winds brought in a load of smoke from the Chetco fire I thought something local was burning when looking over at the neighbor's place so was ready to go into action but normally we'll get a tsunami siren tone to call the volunteer firefighters and I didn't hear that nor any chatter on the scanner so figured I was wrong. Turned out to be heavy smoke from down-state.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:49 AM
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For a home brew hack add a little dish soap to the water as you hose stuff down. It allows the water to better penetrate. Works good if you got something like mulch smoldering.
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:58 AM
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For a home brew hack add a little dish soap to the water as you hose stuff down. It allows the water to better penetrate. Works good if you got something like mulch smoldering.
Old School Foam!!! Hells yeah.
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Old 09-11-2017, 6:28 PM
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We used Ivory liquid for training only. Faux foam + easier clean up.
Never used it while working a fire.

3% Afff on vehicle fires worked real well.

If you need a quick-ish knock down then maybe keep some around the homestead.
>$75 @5gallon bucket, so...

Making buildings/property fire resistant will be money better spent IMO.
*Check your insurance company for discounts on supression systems.
Those are still very costly.

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Old 09-11-2017, 9:47 PM
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In 2015 my property survived the Butte Fire. We we well prepared for the fire storm that hit us. Water was the key.

I have a large pond on my property and a huge flooded mine shaft that supplied my fire system. I have 2.5 in pipe on all the peaks of all the buildings and 3/4 inch under the eves. We pumped water out of the mine shaft for 3 days onto the property and the vineyards before the fire got there. The shaft never went down more than a couple of feet. Cal Fire used our pond to fill the buckets of helicopters. It helped save a lot of my neighbors homes.

We bare earthed a fire break at least 100 yards from the outside fence on the vineyard and buildings. I graze the land around the property pretty heavy with my cows to keep fuel load down.

We enjoyed feeding and helping get a ton of firefighters a shower and feed them over 2 weeks while that fire was raging.

When the fire storm arrived we diverted all the water from the pumps to the buildings. We ran a half inch of water off every roof and wall we owned. We used 2 1.5 inch lines to soak down the trees around the buildings.

The fire was so intense that you had to turn your face away from it at 700 feet. IT blew over and around us in a matter of minutes and was gone to wreak havoc over the next hills.

I saw firefighters fall asleep eating their dinner. Never heard one complain, man or women. Toughest kids I have ever seen. God Bless them.


Building a fire system for your home and buildings requires IMHO about a minimum of 10,000 gallons to run the system for enough time for the fire to burn past you depending on fuel load.

I did add a foamer to my system after the Butte fire. Not sure if I like it or need it. I have enough volume from my well pump and 100 hp gas pump I think I'm covered. We burned 400 gallons of fuel that week in the pumps and gen sets. The wife washed every towel, dish pots and pans we own several times that week keeping firefighters fed and clean.

We learned a lot and thanked the heavenly father for all our blessings we received that week.
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Old 09-12-2017, 7:53 PM
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Originally Posted by KevinB View Post
In 2015 my property survived the Butte Fire. We we well prepared for the fire storm that hit us. Water was the key.

I have a large pond on my property and a huge flooded mine shaft that supplied my fire system. I have 2.5 in pipe on all the peaks of all the buildings and 3/4 inch under the eves. We pumped water out of the mine shaft for 3 days onto the property and the vineyards before the fire got there. The shaft never went down more than a couple of feet. Cal Fire used our pond to fill the buckets of helicopters. It helped save a lot of my neighbors homes.

We bare earthed a fire break at least 100 yards from the outside fence on the vineyard and buildings. I graze the land around the property pretty heavy with my cows to keep fuel load down.

We enjoyed feeding and helping get a ton of firefighters a shower and feed them over 2 weeks while that fire was raging.

When the fire storm arrived we diverted all the water from the pumps to the buildings. We ran a half inch of water off every roof and wall we owned. We used 2 1.5 inch lines to soak down the trees around the buildings.

The fire was so intense that you had to turn your face away from it at 700 feet. IT blew over and around us in a matter of minutes and was gone to wreak havoc over the next hills.

I saw firefighters fall asleep eating their dinner. Never heard one complain, man or women. Toughest kids I have ever seen. God Bless them.


Building a fire system for your home and buildings requires IMHO about a minimum of 10,000 gallons to run the system for enough time for the fire to burn past you depending on fuel load.

I did add a foamer to my system after the Butte fire. Not sure if I like it or need it. I have enough volume from my well pump and 100 hp gas pump I think I'm covered. We burned 400 gallons of fuel that week in the pumps and gen sets. The wife washed every towel, dish pots and pans we own several times that week keeping firefighters fed and clean.

We learned a lot and thanked the heavenly father for all our blessings we received that week.

I've been a fire fighter on the receiving end of home owners kindnesses cooking us meals out of their own pocket. You don't know how much it means to us. It's such a moral booster for the fire folks. Thank you for doing that and helping out the way you did. Even a cold soda will lift the spirits and energy levels of worn out fire fighters. Thanks again from a greatful fire fighter. And thanks to the nice home owner who said I could use his wifi while sleeping in fire camp tonight. Lol
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Old 09-13-2017, 7:36 AM
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I've been a fire fighter on the receiving end of home owners kindnesses cooking us meals out of their own pocket. You don't know how much it means to us. It's such a moral booster for the fire folks. Thank you for doing that and helping out the way you did. Even a cold soda will lift the spirits and energy levels of worn out fire fighters. Thanks again from a greatful fire fighter. And thanks to the nice home owner who said I could use his wifi while sleeping in fire camp tonight. Lol
You are welcome. My thanks came form the look in those tired eyes from those firefighters. We are Mormon and don't drink coffee. We had a huge percolator coffee pot and coffee but the firefighters had to show us how to make coffee. Some of those kids hadn't had a change of clothes for a week. They sat around in a towel while my wife washed their clothes. We have a commercial washer and drier in the barn for washing big stuff and it was always running. We have a commercial kitchen at the ranch, It was non stop cooking for a week.
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Old 09-13-2017, 10:58 AM
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unless you have an irrigation pump there is no way to pump enough water to do anything extreme like kevinB did to save his ranch in high intensity/extreme fire behavior situations that sometimes happen. However I have been on MANY incidents where a simple garden hose was enough to knock down the approaching fire.

I keep my property grazed with cattle but also weed wack the 5 acres around my home down to a short stubble to make my home appealing to firefighters as one to put effort into. I also keep a 12' fire break cleared around my property but without a lot of water and luck none of this means too much...

I'm planning to add a honda WH20 pump that can pump out of out our pool or a 600 gal tank that goes on my trailer. This would be very handy if I start a fire...

In all reality I think your best option is to make your property as dependable as possible and pray for calfire resources to help. Give them a dependable home and a water supply and they are good at doing their job. Remember that a wildland engine only carries 500 gallions of h2o and can pump it dry in minutes without a water tender (3-4k). As the dopers pick their bud, you should see water tanks on CL for cheep. I see 3.5-4k tanks for less than $500 regularly.
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Old 09-14-2017, 8:10 AM
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I have a portable, gas powered 75psi water pump and a few hundred feet of 1.5 inch fire hose along with 5 thousand gallons of water supply from my own tank.
What kind of pump do you have? Thoughts on it?

I'm planning on a similar setup. I want to try the cheap Harbor Freight 40 psi trash pumps but I don't think it'll put out the reach I'd want. Proper high pressure portable fire pumps start to get pricey, especially for something with an unlikely game day (for me anyway).
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Old 09-14-2017, 9:22 AM
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A trash pump makes a poor fire pump and if you need to pump water up hill forget about it. Also keep in mind as you increase the length of the hose lay you loose pressure do to the friction. Some basic numbers I remember off hand are you want 40-50 psi at the nozzle and loose 15psi for every 100ft of 1.5 inch hose. Also you loose something like 20psi for every 50ft of elevation you are pumping up. Numbers might not be spot on but a basic idea.
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Old 09-14-2017, 11:31 AM
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You are welcome. My thanks came form the look in those tired eyes from those firefighters. We are Mormon and don't drink coffee. We had a huge percolator coffee pot and coffee but the firefighters had to show us how to make coffee. Some of those kids hadn't had a change of clothes for a week. They sat around in a towel while my wife washed their clothes. We have a commercial washer and drier in the barn for washing big stuff and it was always running. We have a commercial kitchen at the ranch, It was non stop cooking for a week.
I also remember your original thread where you describe how you let the guys stand under your eaves with the water on full blast for a shower (with the ladies allowed to use the indoor bathrooms).

While your place was very well prepared, with your generosity if you ever ran into trouble I bet that they would roll in the cavalry if you needed it. Did your wife ever ask them what their favorite meal was out of all the ones she cooked?
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Old 09-14-2017, 1:49 PM
KevinB KevinB is offline
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My wife makes the best home made bread I have ever tasted, and I would bet that those firefighters did also.

She had a Mulligan stew as we call it, going pretty much the whole time. Everything pretty much goes into that stew. She made cornbread with honey that seemed was always in short supply. Ham, beans and rice was real popular also.

We ran out of milk the first day, even though the roads were closed she managed to get a pass to come and go. She has spent her whole life teaching people how to feed themselves and others. I learned a long time ago to stay out of her way when she is cooking and follow orders closely.

We ran out of bar soap. When we run out of anything its a big deal. We will never run out of bar soap again in my lifetime.

We have had several of the fire fighters come by and visit since the fire. My wife taught several of them how to make bread.

We didn't recognize a single one of them when they came to visit.

I can't emphasize how much of a privileged it was for us to help.
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