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NEVADA COUNTY, Calif. July 26, 2020 – The annual edition of the Fire Safe Council’s Wildfire Season Guide is now available. Paper copies are being distributed and you can download the pdf file right here.
Since 1989, the Fire Safe Council of Nevada County has provided education and services to help residents prepare for wildfire through grant funding, donations, and memberships.
A the message from your Fire Chiefs:
Your Nevada County Fire Chiefs are dedicated to saving lives and saving property. That’s why we became firefighters. Your local law enforcement agencies ( county sheriffs, city police, and CHP) are likewise here to protect and serve you, and in a wildfire situation, those officers will handle evacuations while firefighters work to contain and put out the fire.
We want to tell you the best way you can control your own evacuation and make choices, in advance, that will help reduce your fear in an evacuation situation and give you the best chance of survival.
Evacuation planning is a complex job, and no amount of planning can guarantee a safe exit for everyone in a fast-moving wildfire with shifting winds. Sadly, the residents of Paradise were confronted with that difficult truth when the wind-driven Camp Fire, at its worst, raced the length of a football field every second.
You Live in a High Risk Zone
Nearly all of Nevada county is rated as a High or Very High Risk Zone for wildfire. It’s critical that you understand the following facts: There are not enough officers and patrol cars to warn every household in every area that could end up in the path of a wildfire.
A fire can move faster than the warning and evacuation system can react. This is what happened in Paradise.
Our ratio of population to available evacuation routes is worse here than it was in Paradise.
Scary? Yes. We love to live here, but the increasing number of huge, devastating California fires in the past five years has proven there’s a clear risk we must accept when choosing to live in a rural area.
Give Yourself the Gift of Control
Evacuations are scary. It’s easy to panic when you’re told to evacuate. The following two steps will make a big difference in how you react and manage the situation:
Decide NOW where you will go when you evacuate. It’s much easier to leave if you’ve already decided where you’ll go. Figure this out now. Call any friends within 50 miles of here and ask if you go there in an emergency. Identify a coffee shop or a mall down the hill. Marysville has a large park with a lake, right on Highway 20. Or go visit Truckee for the day. The key is to decide NOW.
Leave BEFORE you are told to go. Remember: if you wait until you’re ordered to evacuate, that means many others have also been told to leave, and you will all get on the road at the same time. Multiply that by other neighborhoods evacuating, and we’ll have what happened in Paradise: jammed roads and a really frightening situation.
See the Evacuation Guide Insert of this publication for how to GET SET and GO. Page 9 tells you how to stay informed so that you know something’s happening which may make you decide to leave.
Hi-Lo Siren Means Leave Now
Our local sheriff and police cars are now equipped with European-style sirens that make an alternating Hi-Lo sound (like you’ve heard in movies). These sirens will mean only one thing: LEAV E NOW. Officers in these cars will be deployed to neighborhoods at risk for an advancing fire.
If you hear this siren, you must grab your Go Bag, your pet(s) and leave immediately. Do not stop to pack additional items, make phone calls, etc. The sirens are not a warning, they are an order to LEAVE IMMEDIATELY. Just go.
Be Safest: Beat the Crowd
As soon as you feel nervous or unsure, that’s when to go. By making the decision to leave early, even if it turns out later that you didn’t really need to go, you will give yourself the gift of control. And if you’re lucky, you’ll be grateful to come home and unpack your car into your not-burnt-out home.
The Nevada County Fire Chiefs hope that our citizens never face a fire like the one in Paradise. But we also know it’s NOT IF, but W HEN the next wildfire will occur in our county. Help us help you. Getting out early lets us focus on the fire, and gives you the best chance of staying safe.