The Unforseen Value of our Skoolie – Running from the Caldor Fire

If everything were going as planned, Olivia would have her full attention on finishing out her first school semester and I’d be working hard to prepare for the upcoming hunting season. Instead, we’ve packed some of our belongings and we’ve left home to get away from the head of the Caldor fire. Since the day it exploded, we’ve been watching it creep steadily towards home. Counting down the miles and trying to keep track of its pace has been mentally exhausting. All the while we’ve been trying to push forward through smoky air to accomplish our school and work obligations. Here is a screen shot of the fire map the first day smoke was visible from our house.

And here is a screenshot of the fire today, with a small black outline I drew around our neighborhood. You can see that it’s generally moved east and north, towards us.

We decided to leave and start staying in the school bus before the evacuation warning came, mainly because of how bad the smoke was. Even indoors with air purifiers cranking, our lungs were irritated and it was time to get out. Ashes, small bits of charcoal, and entire burnt oak leaves (there are no oaks where we live) were landing in our neighborhood.

That said, we’re extremely grateful to have the school bus and and a place to park it where we can mostly get out of the smoke and continue to live.

Last week I started working at a different job site out on a property that sits right in the center of where the tamarack fire just burned. A storage container/office and a lot of other valuable stuff burned in the fire, but the main structures were saved so we’re back to building.

Although the fire burned through the area several weeks ago, this week we found a tree that had relit from the inside. The forest service had to come and put it out.

Anyway, we mainly wanted to update friends and family and let everyone know that we’re safe and out of harms way, but we also wanted to share our experience of having an adventure rig like a skoolie to use in an emergency like this. It’s certainly a huge bonus to having one that we didn’t foresee needing, and if anyone we know is thinking of building one, we think it’s something worth keeping in mind.

The past few days have been really good for troubleshooting and really testing out our systems. We’re sorting through some minor solar/electrical settings issues, but other than that we have a bed, stove, sink, shower, electricity, two great dogs, and each other. We also have the means to pick up and leave whenever we need to. What more could you ask for?

It isn’t nearly finished, but it’s certainly worth it’s weight in gold to us!

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