As usual, the best (i.e., most informative) news is from foreign sources. From the Daily Mail, an article about the wild fires outside Reno, including some pretty impressive pictures and a video. Relevant to our preparations is this:
Police in Reno went house to house in the middle of the night, pounding on doors and telling residents they had to evacuate as a roughly 400-acre blaze raged in rough terrain, destroyed homes and injured some people.(Emphasis added).
The point is that we don't get to pick when an emergency or disaster will occur. Whether in a city apartment, or a rural retreat, you may need to evacuate with little or no notice, and quickly. Thus, a portable 72-Hour kit or Bug Out Bag, or some similar preparation. Here is some advice from the Red Cross on items to include in a kit. Here is a PDF from the Northwest North Carolina Chapter of the Red Cross that has a slightly different list of items. One thing I like about the latter list is that it places some emphasis on information and documents that you will need in the event of evacuation, such as style and serial number of medical devices (like a pacemaker), and important documents (such as insurance, legal, and financial documents, as well as important family documents). Any "go to bag" should also include some cash in small bills.
We try to keep important documents in a small fireproof box--if we are not home when there is a fire, the box will (hopefully) protect the documents, but if we had to flee the house, we can just grab the box.
Other items, such as family heirlooms and jewelry, can be stored in larger fireproof safes or vaults.
If you don't have a fireproof box or safe, a freezer (chest or upright) also work fairly well. Just make sure that any documents that you store inside are well protected in a waterproof bag or wrapping.