"The city had heard the fire was coming closer, but it was more a hassle than a threat. People would only complain about the smoke and ash. When it hit [a community on the outskirts], you could tell the attitude had changed. People were scouring the city for evacuation kits. The morning of the evacuation the sky was blue and calm. I just forgot about the imminent danger. The headlines from the emergency update seemed to say things were under control. We went about our lives. Around noon, the sky was filled with thick black smoke. I was rushing around to collect what I valued most. Shortly after, the first notice to be prepared to evacuate had been called. Maybe half an hour later the Emergency Alerts were blasting our radios. I have never seen more traffic in my life. We passed hundreds of cars abandoned, people parked on the side of the road expecting for this all to be called off. Campers were set up on the side of the highway. This drive should have taken an hour and a half on a normal day. We left at 3:30 [p.m.], and arrived at the [evacuation] camp shortly before [midnight]."
Police traveling on horseback don't look so dumb now, eh?
Unless you're the sort of person who keeps stacks of chlorine pills in a backyard bunker, you're probably not truly prepared for an emergency. Oh, you can have supplies and a plan. But emotionally, the idea of your home catching fire will never quite be real until it's right in front of you. Once that happens, it's chaos, as Derek explained: