We just had to bug out due to a mandatory evacuation for a forest fire in our area (SW of Denver, CO). Our house is OK, but we are still on high alert and could be re-evacuated at any time without warning. Here's what I learned. I like to think of myself as relatively well prepared, and I think we were, but there's room for improvement. 1. Have a list of what you need/want to pack. We did and it was awesome. My wife even said she was incredibly scatterbrained while we were being rushed out of the house and would have forgotten several important things without the list. 2. Break down the list into 5 minute, 15 minute, 1 hour, etc. of things to grab given the aforementioned amount of time. E.g. don't spend all your time grabbing work clothes if you only have 5 minutes warning. 3. Besides the obvious photos, insurance documents, hard drive, jewelry, guns, heirlooms, etc. grab enough clothes/tools/files/etc. to go back to work for at least a few days. Seriously, no one else except the other evacuees and a few caring locals gives a ***** about your situation. The last thing we wanted to grab was work stuff considering the circumstances (and we didn't grab any of it), but without work we quickly realized neither of us had a way to make a living and rebuild if we had to. I know insurance would help, but that doesn't happen overnight when your boss calls and wants to know if you're going to make the meeting the next day - never mind you might not have a home anymore. 4. When you grab your laptops, hard drives, etc. bring the power cables. You think no-brainer, but you also think I can get a power cord anywhere don't want to waste time with it. Grab the cords. Chances are you will need to access something on your computer while you are sitting it out. 5. Have a plan. We did except for our large animals. Our plan worked well in terms of family, possessions, living quarters, vehicles, but it did not include our four large animals...and all we had was a two horse trailer. (We are working on that plan now.) 6. Do not think your BOB will suffice. It won't. 7. Have a light heart, there's nothing we could do to stop a forest fire. 8. If money permits, I'd like to build a fireproof shelter on our property to avoid having to bring EVERYTHING with us while trying to save our lives. If you are building a new house, talk to the engineer/architect about adding a fireproof/hurricane/tornado/bullet proof room as part of the design. It would be priceless should the disaster ever happen. 9. No matter how many trees you cut down around your house - fire will find it. Sprinkler systems and garden hoses are worthless for forest fires. 10. Have a gas mask rated for heat and smoke for at least the driver of the get-away car. Several drivers in our area when into the ditch because they couldn't see as they were leaving because the smoke was so thick. I'm speculating, but I think they panicked. Most roads here have fart bumps down the middle and if they kept the tire on the bumps, they would have been able to "hear" their way down the road. Having a mask would have offered comfort that they didn't have to drive 40mph to escape. The heat wasn't an issue at that point for them. (Even some Sheriff's cars went into the ditch.) 11. Have a portable scanner. We didn't, but I'm getting one in the very near future. Once you leave your house, you're at the mercy of public radio to get info. It's worthless. The local Sheriff said they were putting stuff on their website, twitter, the local news, and even had public informants in key areas. Well, unless you walk around with a super-secret advanced phone/laptop that gets wi-fi in rural areas (where forest fires are) you're kinda screwed in the high-tech information area. The local informant we spoke with had information that was sometimes 18 hours old. Worthless for the most part. If you have the ability to bug out where there is internet, power, and TV, do it. It's such a joke when they say have a portable AM/FM radio. I might as well had a pet brick. I heard more info. on my portable HAM radio in 30 minutes than I did on AM/FM radio for 4 days. 12. Have multiple ways to be in communication with your significant others. Our cells phones worked great (Thank God), but we also had some FRS portable radios as plan B - which we didn't need. 13. Food. If you can bring some food, water, and even a few beers for the first night do it. It's chaos and going to a restaurant isn't an option. If you have kids, food/milk NEEDS to be at the top of the list. When you finally have a place to sit down, having the ability to eat something is great. Having a beer was even more priceless. At that point dwelling on the situation was futile and demoralizing. 14. Pray.