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The Deserted Island Game - Wildfire Edition

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What would you save out of your home if you had 15 minutes to get out? I can guarantee that it won’t be what you’re thinking right now.

Yesterday, as a resident of the SCV -- that’s the Santa Clarita Valley/Valencia/Magic Mountain area to you city folk – I had the opportunity to play the “What Would You Take to a Deserted Island – Wildfire Edition” game. Some of the items I “saved” make me laugh. (Now anyway.)

Around 2 pm yesterday, the sheriff’s department came through my neighborhood. Over the car speakers they were saying something over and over again. I went outside to listen closely. Then I heard it: “If you can hear this announcement please start evacuating the area immediately.” I wondered why since I could see the Castaic fire was still a good distance away. So I asked my neighbor, “Why?” Then she pointed behind me. There was another fire – the “Magic” incident – on a ridge just above us. Oh. Sh*t.

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Ready. Set. Go. The game had begun.

I called my husband and he reminded me to pack our emergency kit backpack. I said, "Sure" and started looking around the house to see what else to bring. I quickly threw some fresh clothes and toiletries into a duffle bag. I packed up our important papers, wedding album, my laptop and cell phone and their chargers (bonus points for those).

All my important possessions were now packed into the car with our new puppy. But as I was about to drive away, I had this nagging feeling I was forgetting something. It was a good thing I did because I left the front door unlocked. So I ran around the house again to figure out what I was forgetting.

Along the way I picked up a few toys and treats for the pup. Then I went upstairs to look around. I left my writing portfolio and my books. I had to stop and think. If I had to save one from the fire, what would it be? My signed Ray Bradbury? Nope. The dog-eared Catcher in the Rye that you've had for more than 20 years? Nope. How about Mansfield Park since you've been meaning to rekindle your thing for Jane Austen novels? Nope. I took The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan that I borrowed from a friend. I didn't want her to be upset at me if I couldn't return the book. (Yes, this is what you're thinking with minutes to pack and a wildfire at your back.)

Then thought of what else I needed: Yes, I needed a baseball cap since it was so windy and I was having a really bad hair day. This is still Los Angeles, after all. I picked up my Boston Red Sox and Boston College baseball caps. I couldn't decide between the two. One was red and one was beige. Which would match the clothes I shoved in the duffle? In a split-second decision, I grabbed both. Whoa. And King Solomon had a tougher decision? Ha.

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As I was stuck in gridlock a few minutes later with a very scared and barking puppy in the back seat, I remembered something else.

Our emergency kit backpack was still in the hall closet. You know, the place we keep it...just for emergencies.

AP Photo by (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

***Author's note. Thanks to the firefighters and the direction of the wind, our neighborhood was spared for now. But others in the SCV, San Diego and other areas weren't so lucky, and we can only say that we're sorry for what you're going through.