Imagine having just minutes, or even seconds to decide what take from your home. Years, or even decades of memories and 'things' to choose from, and you can only take what you can carry in your arms.
That's the decision thousands of people in central Idaho are having to make, as a fire continues to burn out of control. So far, two-thousand homes remain under mandatory evacuation orders.
Dayle Ohlau lives in Sun Valley, and so far has been evacuated twice. "Right away I began grabbing all of our important papers, things I knew we couldn't duplicate" she tells me. "Then I started looking at things that meant more to me, like my great grandmother's quilts. But after awhile, I realized I hadn't grabbed any clothes. And the anthesis of that was that was the first thing my daughter, who's 17 grabbed, were her clothes. My son grabbed his flutes. So it's really kind of interesting to stand back and say 'Wow, so this is what's important to me' "
I was in a similar situation a few years ago, covering the wild fires burning east of San Diego. I wondered, if I was told I had five minutes to grab what I needed, what I would take with me. And I think when you're in that situation, the less time you have to over think, the easier it becomes. For me it was my passport, drivers license and social security card. Dozens's of photo albums, our families history, were safely tucked away in a storage locker. And as long as my mom and dad, and friends were safe, I knew I could replace just about everything else.
Dayle says the Red Cross is telling people to "follow a priority and remember the 'P's.' People, pets, prescriptions, and paperwork. That can kind of keep you focused in those situations when you don't have time to think, and you have to react."
So, if you had five minutes to make a decision, what would you take with you?