By June 25, 2012 Read More →

Wake UP Call: It is happening NOW for me!

Wakeup Call:  It is happing NOW for me.

By  Polar Bear Dancer, aka Dave, the APN Editor.

Well, most people look for ‘signs’ for reasons to prep or bug out.  Well, there is one going on NOW, here in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where I am.

This fire started yesterday, Saturday June 23rd.  I was out of town when it happened (so I cannot be blamed for it! LOL).  It started in what they call:  Waldo Canyon, up in the mountains about 20 miles west of Colorado Springs.

The area around here has been very dry, and the fire danger warning is extremely high.  Probably due to the mild winter and little rainfall.

So now my ‘prepper’ instincts started kicking in.



Food, Shelter, Water.

Where to go?  One of my ‘Bug-Out-Locations was closed to me because of the fire.  Luckily, I have 2 more.


Plan the routes.

Make sure there is enough fuel in my vehicle.  Is there any mechanical problems with the vehicle?


Started packing the supplies, and waited.  Luckily, there still is communication with others, so I can get updates on the activities.

Amazing though, a local radio station, along with the county governments involved, have been offering information and resources for people during this event.  This gives me hope about my fellow man.  Yeah!

The first picture is near my usual grocery store, King Soopers.  The second picture is right around the corner from my place.

There are many thoughts going through my mind now, but as you can guess, this is NOT the time to second guess yourself and doubt your actions.

More to follow, after the event clears up!

Thanks for reading!

Please let me know your thoughts on this, or any other disaster event.  I would like to add your thoughts to this article!


Thanks, Dave.

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16 Comments on "Wake UP Call: It is happening NOW for me!"

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  1. mamahen says:

    My thoughts are with you Dave.

    I lived in Boulder and know how hot, dry and very gusty the winds can get. Doesn’t help the fire situation any! Good for you having more than one bug out location. Is there a “colony” in your area, and if so do you have a meet up place? I’m in South Carolina now, we’re into our hurricane season and like yourself, I make sure the suv is filled at all times and ready to go. luckily there are other preppers close by. I wish the best for you and hopefully these horrible wildfires in your neck of the woods will soon be over.

  2. Thanks for your understanding and support! From all I can see, since I am NOT going to be one of those ‘rubberneckers’ going up to the scene, the fires seem to be settling down. Some of the interesting things that I discovered about prepping from this are:

    There is a dog rescue place near me and they received over 30 dogs from people in the path of the fires. They couldn’t bug out with their pets. Well, at least they didn’t abandon their pets. But I am concerned that there are a bunch of people out there not making proper preparations.

    Also, you can really know who your ‘friends’ are, when such an event happens to you. The term: ‘fair weather friend’ really comes to mind.

    As to a colony here: There are a bunch of ‘preppers’ here, but, for some reason, they seem to not want to form a colony. They help each other with knowledge and all, but don’t want to form colonies. Perhaps it takes more time for those relationships to develop.

    Ideas? Thanks, Dave.

    • Latest update: Monday, June 25th: The fire still burns in the area, with a neighboring town temporarily evacuating their residents. The evacuation is over, but there are still fires burning.

      Comments about the event: There have been quite a bit of support for the concerned folk, from a variety of agencies and private organizations. In my opinion, there is still hope for humanity!

      I hadn’t seen any hoarding or psycho behavior, just a bunch of gawking.

      There has been some confusing information on the news across the country, I am told, saying that Colorado Springs is evacuating, and such. But that is just confusion and misunderstanding.

      Somehow, even though the fire is still burning (I saw actual flames burning up in the hills, from my place), I believe that Colorado Springs is not in danger.

      Prepping Observations:

      Organization: What to do first, second, etc…
      One doesn’t have time to rethink what you are looking for.
      Have your contact list handy, and USE it. Family and friends will be grateful.
      Get your bags ready ahead of time.
      Prep for your pets, too!
      Finally, Get into the groove of disaster prepping, by asking yourself: “What should I do, if……”

      Sorry, the most important thing I found was: Stay calm. There are too many out there with the panic mindset. It will slow you down, and stress you out.

      Thanks for the time, and hopefully everyone here will do well in such a situation!

      -Dave, ‘Polar Bear Dancer’ (There is a funny story about this ‘handle’ of mine, from my past! I guess another time!

  3. Dave, thank you for posting your thoughts and revalations during a (potential) crisis.  Having these things happen is definitely not fun, but it’s nice on some level to confirm that your efforts toward emergency planning are working or are there to be accessed should the time arrive.  Also nice to get a ‘heads up’ in areas that we have been ‘meaning’ to take care of, or that haven’t occurred to us until that moment.

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Well, silly me: The winds picked up and now the north part of Colorado Springs is choking with smoke and some ash. I cannot tell if the fire is moving closer to town, but the roads are backlogged going north. Total gridlock on the Interstate.

    Interesting fact: When the smoke gets thick, cell phones don’t work! I was driving back from the store, and different phones wouldn’t work. However, when the smoke cleared up, going south, the phones worked fine. Being an amateur radio enthusiast, I determined that the higher amount of particulate matter in the air blocked the cell frequencies (800 mhz).

    It is safe to say that this event is NOT over! With the wind changing direction and strength, along with the dry environment, just about anything can (and probably will) happen.

    All the best, Dave.

    P.S. Make sure you put a dust mask in your bug out bag!!! It is difficult to breathe!

  5. Judy says:

    I read your blog the other day. Today I was hoping your area would be in better shape. CNN online tonight said the evacuations were increased to 32K. I hope you and yours are safe!!! I am glad you have emergency plans and preps! Wish Western Washington could send you some of our rain to put out that fire! Judy

  6. mamahen says:

    Dave, I just logged on this morning and also saw the headlines of 32K being evacuated.
    I hope that you are safe and get through this with your preps and emergency planning.
    Please keep us posted when you can.

  7. Shaunalynn says:

    Thanks for your updates. I had not really thought about the preparation for my pets. Your comment about the dogs has caused me to consider… I need to have a cat carrier for each one of my cats. Letting them run loose in the car might not be such a great idea in an emergency situation.

    • Update: Wednesday, 6/27 evening: I found I need to wait until the evening to see the extent of the fire, since the afternoon winds change the options.

      Well, there seem to be ONLY a few spot fires burning, and NOTHING threatening the city any more. Last night, there were so many fires burning, late into the night. Tonight, there are only a handful of small fires burning AWAY from the city.

      WE look very secure here.

      Prepping notes:

      Many of my friends lost their homes, and there is a great aftermath of activity coming; lodging, insurance, red tape, etc… THAT will be interesting. Financially, I am only out some supplies and fuel for transporting others. To me, it was a good experience, and worth the expense.

      As previously posted: Pets need preparation too! It is a good idea, as brought to my attention, to have a separate carrier for each.

      One friend, who lost his home in ‘the canyon’ could only get two of his cats out, because the other two hid out under the house and couldn’t be retrieved, before the ‘forced’ evacuation happened. However, the animals were somewhat taken cared of by some firefighter friends.

      Communications: This event strengthened the need for comprehensive communication. I am an Amateur Radio Operator, and knew, throughout this event, that I could get the true scoop anytime, by my connection of friends, frequencies, and HAM skills. Honestly, Get the testing done, and start getting involved. It will definitely give you some serious piece of mind. I was listening to the ‘Air Boss’ frequency when the tankers were dropping!

      To continue to ‘beat a dead horse’: Get your Bug Out Bag (BOB) ready and practice with it.

      Plan alternate routes. As was expected, the Interstate that travels through the city was choked with traffic. Make sure that alternate plans are made AND tried out. Make it sort of a game with family / kids to practice different routes. I remember friends telling me that they went on random day trips with their families while younger. Make it fun!

      Take matters seriously, but with educated guesses. I had the ‘inkling’ to bug out for some time, but was able to postpone it with proper information from the right sources. I was able to change my escape route, evaluate the situation, and detail my family’s plans more effectively. If the fire swept in faster, I would only have time to bug out with my bag and standard plans. Don’t push it, but be safe!

      The community around here was EXTREMELY calm and helpful. There were volunteers helping people know what was going on, and how to find out the latest information. A local TV station was too paranoid about the situation to be very helpful. They didn’t post the latest contact information, just hype about the intensity of the situation, along with the planned visit by the president. This wasn’t very helpful, but the county posted a website with excellent contact information. My thoughts on this: Most people won’t be able to access the internet, so this will be hard to access. The overall media support was good, though.


      The feelings I experienced:

      1. I don’t want to have to do this, I balked at the need to bug out.
      2. At every stage, I believed I could take care of my family. I was calm. Very important!
      3. Keeping connected with others, learning from their direct experiences, and making future plans.
      4. The importance of establishing bug out plans for your family & pets, and friends.
      5. Keep it simple.
      6. Develop quality friendships, they will manifest greater rewards for yourself, your family, and your friends.
      7. Now is the time to act. Every waking thought I have can positively benefit others, and myself. Keep positive, and make good choices. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes, just keep focused and apply yourself.

      Well, I must go now and clear up my re-integration matters.

      Thank you all, for your support through this.


  8. itsadisaster says:

    I saw this the other day but it didn’t click in my pea brain it was YOU Dave..! (I missed your “By…” line – duh). So very sorry to hear about your friends’ losses and that you guys had to go thru all this but really glad you’re ok. We’ve been watching CO (and UT, AZ, NM, WY, etc) fires all season – which sadly has just begun. Monsoon will be starting in the southwest soon and bring some desperately needed rain but unfortunately that means LOTS of dry lightning too. (sigh)

    Thank you for sharing your experiences and yes, most counties provide very helpful information before, during and after incidences so we encourage people to get familiar with your county Emergency Management websites and your State EM site since they can provide updates, shelter locations, advisories, alternate routes, etc to evacuees, local citizens & businesses in affected communities, and info for your loved ones across the country. Also check to see if your county provides text alerts since sometimes texts get thru even though cell calls don’t get thru. More and more officials are using social media too (which sometimes won’t help those in disaster zones since may not have access to web) but the use of Twitter, facebook, free apps, etc is getting more common.

    Stay safe and keeping you all (including the warriors on the front lines fighting these fires) in our thoughts and prayers, itsa (Janet & Bill)

  9. Things are definitely settling down. I saw smoke from just a couple of homes in the area, but no open flames. Now we pick up the pieces.

    Another suggestion for pet prepping, I remember from an APN article, is: store prepping items for each pet in their designated carrier. Then, when the need arises, all you have to do is take out the bag of prep items and put the animal in. Everything will be together and ready to go. I had to dig my pet carrier out of storage, and it wasn’t ready full of stuff.

    I guess, in the grand scheme of things, being thoroughly prepared helps one act quickly AND completely. If you decide, just because, to go camping sometime, the preparation for it would be virtually nil. A safe, simple, and effective way to organize your life! (Sorry for using the organizing word, some don’t like to hear it!)

    Dave, Polar Bear Dancer, signing off!

    P.S. There was a time, some years ago, while traveling through Alaska, and I was in the wilds (easy to do in Alaska) and I accidentally ‘danced’ with a polar bear. Sort of like the movie: ‘Dances with Wolves’. Hence, the nickname: Polar Bear Dancer.

  10. Marie says:

    My daughter lives in Colorado Springs near Palmer Park.  I’ve been praying the fire will die down.  It didn’t help that Obama showed up, which made the area a no fly zone and hindered the efforts of the firemen. Hope you and yours are safe.

    • Thank you for the concern you have for your family and mine. I believe that everything is settling down. The ‘visit’ by the pres was a basic political stunt. In the past, he has failed to make quality appearances, and made several poor ones. His appearance is to probably portray a kindler / gentler side.

      There is basically now just recovery for the springs. I was hit financially, since I helped so many evacuate and prepare. However, this is what friends and family do for each other.

      Thanks again, for your concern! -Dave.

  11. Marie says:

    I have to say here in Ohio, we got caught with our pants down yesterday as sudden high winds and damaging storms ripped through most of Ohio. Over 1 million were without electric and many will continue to be off the grid for a week in dangerous high heat and humidity.  Those that can post online via cell phones are concerned how they will get through the days in the high temps, loss of food, etc.  We were half-prepared because we can’t afford all the things needed, but are working on it.  One thing I have been trying to figure out is how to stay cool off the grid.  I eventually “want” to learn to live without electricity.

    • Very important need, keeping cool OFF the grid. My suggestions towards that end:

      1. Focus and pay attention to your situation. Proper design for the flow through of air; open certain windows, block airflow in certain places, etc…

      2. Remember: Nature, like many other things, takes the path of least resistance. Try to identify where the bottlenecks are, and address them there. Step by step accomplishments are crucial. Work the problem through.

      3. Power grid: Immediately reevaluate your electric requirements. One of the first areas to cut back on is lighting. With LED lights and alternative fuel cooking, much can be done. Locate freezers in cool places (basements, etc… Remember the old ‘root cellar’ mentality? They were placed in very cool places.

      4. Always network towards a MUTUALLY-BENEFICIAL advantage. What I mean is to avoid using others. Help them in exchange for their help to you.

      5. There are many passive solar ideas around. A nice lady posted a passive solar article here on the APN. Check it out.

      Finally, remember to live well, Love everyone (it doesn’t mean you don’t rebuke them when it is needed), and laugh always. Sometimes difficult, but it is what makes us better people throughout this existence we call ‘life’ !!

  12. Marie says:

    Thank you, I am keeping these notes for future reference.  Glad things are settling down in CS, I got the same good news from my daughter.  Take care!

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