Surviving Wildfire - Foreword by Rex Ewing

There's nothing quite like knowing that you are probably about to die, no matter what you do in the minute or two you have left. It is a realization that brings into sharp focus every survival instinct you never knew you had. Move! Get out! Now! you scream inside your head, even though you find yourself staring into a void filled with flame and smoke and you know your only chance of living through the night is to drive blindly into it and out the other side. Except you don't really know if there is another side, or if it's possible to reach it without driving off the narrow winding road, or running into a downed tree, or succumbing to the hot poisonous gases that have all around you replaced the cool oxygen-rich air your lungs crave. All you know is you're out of options, so even though you can't see one square inch of road, you push on, mixing caution and haste in what you pray is a workable combination...

It's the stuff of nightmares. But this was a nightmare my wife, LaVonne, and I somehow lived through shortly after midnight on April 2, 2011, just about the time the home author Linda Masterson shared with her husband, Cory Phillips, was being reduced to a pile of ashes. Dozens of lives were irrevocably changed that night, but while the others struggle to put it all behind them, Linda somehow dug down deep and found the courage to face her demons eye to eye in the single hope that she might be able to help others avoid what she and Cory had to endure. And, if your home is destroyed, to confront the seemingly endless trauma that comes in a wildfire's wake as if it were a bump in the road rather than a final destination. "You will get through this," Linda promises; life goes on, albeit differently.

It is rare for someone as intimately involved as Linda to deal methodically and systematically with the subject of personal disaster, and it gives Surviving Wildfire that distinct flavor of authenticity a book like this ought to have; a passion that shines behind the facts and figures and down-to-earth advice on how to prepare yourself for the unthinkable. And how to pick up the pieces of your life and begin the process of recovery should it actually happen.

This book's small size belies the mountain of crucial information it offers those of us living where wildfire can take our homes, our treasured possessions, and even our lives. No matter what your level of expertise in dealing with wildfire and its aftermath, your knowledge of the subject will be greatly enriched by reading this book. Some of it is surprising, some of it ingenious. All of it is useful. The biggest eye-opener for me? Never try to drive through a flame front; it's too hot and you probably won't make it. Let it pass, then proceed with caution. If providence had not already intervened the night of April 2, it is advice that would have saved our lives.

- Rex Ewing