Preparing for an Emergency Evacuation from a Homestead


The eerie glow from an approaching wildfire forced the author to evacuate from her Colorado farm.

As I write this, we are evacuated from our homestead. Two days ago, due to the fires raging through northern Colorado, we removed 64 animals and eight humans from our little mountain farm in less than two hours. The smoke was so thick that it was dark as night in the middle of the afternoon. It felt like we were in an apocalyptic movie. It was stressful, and heartbreaking. No amount of planning can take away the strong emotions of having to flee from your home. But as I look back on the evacuation, I am struck at how smoothly it actually went as our family worked together to quickly accomplish everything we had planned ahead.

We are not strangers to evacuation. Back in 2013, when flood waters ripped through Northern Colorado, we evacuated our homestead, which at the time, included 72 animals and six humans. We had to take the animals out on foot over a half mile to waiting trailers and trucks on the other side of a complete break in the access road created by the flood waters. Our homestead was not completely back together again for three months, though the humans and some animals were able to return sooner.

There is a high likelihood that at some point, every homestead will face the potential of needing to evacuate. It is important to have a solid written plan ready so you can increase the chance of saving as much as possible from the disaster. Writing out a proper plan and making sure everyone in the home understands the plan and their part in it before the event actually occurs will save you time and stress.

Step 1: Prioritize

Your plan needs to be written out in priority order, with highest priorities written first. For example, humans, then animals, then belongings.

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