News Flash

Office of Emergency Services

Posted on: October 23, 2020

Red Flag Warning, Extreme Fire Weather and PSPS Event Sunday-Tuesday

RFW 8PM 10/15 to 5PM 10.27

Be Ready Nevada County

Red Flag Warning Issued: Sunday evening, October 25th, through Tuesday afternoon, October 27th

The National Weather Service in Sacramento has issued a Red Flag Warning, which is in effect from 8:00 p.m. Sunday evening through 5:00 p.m. Tuesday evening. This means extreme fire weather conditions are possible for Nevada County due to gusty winds and low humidity. Strong easterly winds are expected to develop by early Sunday evening and increase overnight over the Sierra Nevada. Sustained winds from 20 to 30 mph with gusts 50 to 70 mph or higher are expected, especially over ridges and through favored gaps and canyons Sunday night and early Monday morning. In the foothills, easterly winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts 30 to 40 mph are expected. Winds are not expected to be as strong Monday night but humidity will remain very low with poor humidity recovery. Extreme caution should be taken to prevent a fire. Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly. Outdoor burning, including burn piles and camp fires, should be avoided.

"Don’t let your guard down because of the shorter days and cooling temperatures," said CAL FIRE Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit Assistant Chief Jim Mathias. "The fall season in Northern California has produced large and damaging wildfires. Wind events, very dry vegetation, and lightning can contribute to multiple fires with the change of seasons. Vegetation will remain dry and dangerous until several soaking rains have occurred."

Over 40,000 Nevada County PG&E Customers May Be Impacted by Potential PSPS  Beginning Sunday, October 25th

Additionally, PG&E meteorology is tracking and forecasting a potential PSPS event impacting approximately 466,000 customers throughout 38 counties and 40,252 customers in Nevada County. PG&E has begun notifying customers who may be impacted. Find more information on the upcoming PSPS event from PG&E's news releases. To monitor the potential PSPS, visit PG&E’s emergency website www.pge.com/pspsupdates.

During a widespread PSPS event, prepare by:

  •  If you are using a generator during a PSPS event, please make sure to use your generator safely.
  • Take inventory of items you need that rely on electricity.
  • If you have medication that requires refrigeration, have a plan for appropriate storage in the event of a PSPS. If you are unsure about what this may mean, please contact your pharmacist.
  • If you have essential medical equipment that requires electricity, either have a plan to relocate temporarily to a location that still has power, have a safe backup power source, or plan to use one of PG&E’s Community Resource Centers, which are open during daylight hours.
  • Stock up on batteries, flashlights, and nonperishable foods.
  • Have a back-up charging device if you are able.
  • If you are on a well and you lose water when you lose power, then store plenty of water for drinking, cleaning and flushing.
  • Keep your car fueled up, and if you have an electronic garage door opener, don’t park in your garage unless you can easily open your garage door manually.
  • Be sure to use generators, camp stoves or charcoal grills outdoors only. Do not use a gas stove for heat.
  • Lastly, we encourage everyone to watch out for your family, friends and neighbors. Reach out to friends and family who you think may need additional information or support.

Find more PSPS preparedness tips at www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/PSPS.

Follow all recommendations for a Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning and be prepared for the potential for PSPS. Remember, always have an emergency plan during fire season in case a fire starts near you and stay up to date on current conditions in your area. Stay situationally aware with trusted news sources and check in with your five emergency allies. Updates from PG&E, The National Weather Service and Office of Emergency Services can be found at the Ready Nevada County Dashboard at www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/MobileDashboard from your cell phone or www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/Dashboard from your desktop.

Ready Nevada County Means Being Ready for Anything: 

Could you evacuate at a moment’s notice? Are you prepared with plenty of medicine, food, water, masks, hand sanitizer and supplies in the event of a prolonged power shutoff? We are all responsible for our own preparedness. Plan ahead now to set yourself up for success in the future. If you need assistance connecting to resources to help formulate a plan, call 211 or 1-833-DIAL211.

Red Flag Warning and Fire Weather Watch Definitions

A Fire Weather Watch or Red Flag Warning is issued when the combination of dry fuels and weather conditions support extreme fire danger:

  • A Fire Weather Watch is issued up to 72 hours before the above conditions are expected to occur.
  • A Red Flag Warning is issued when the conditions are expected to occur or are occurring within the next 24 hours.

Red Flag Warning Precautions

  • Park your vehicle towards the roadway and load your Go Bag.
  • Know how to open your garage if power is unavailable.
  • Be sure you have a full tank of gas.
  • Keep pets nearby and have a plan to transport large animals.
  • Always check towing equipment and eliminate dragging hazards.
  • Do not use equipment outdoors that may create a spark.
  • Never burn.
  • Have enough medication, water and food to last at least one week.
  • Have lighting, a phone, radio, and batteries.
  • If you do not have access to backup power, consider keeping your food in a cooler.
  • Stay in touch with your 5 Emergency Allies.

Evacuation Language and Definitions

  • Evacuation Order: Immediate threat to life and a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access
  • Evacuation Warning: Potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate, and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
  • Shelter in Place: Go indoors. Shut and lock doors and windows. Prepare to self-sustain until further notice and/or contacted by emergency personnel for additional direction.

Ready Nevada County

Wildfire safety starts with you. Here are tips to stay ready:

  • Stay situationally aware. Use all available tools and communications, including common sense. Do not wait for an evacuation order if you feel unsafe.
  • Find your five. Your five allies are people that will check on you and that you can communicate with in an emergency, so they know you are safe or if you need help.
  • Sign-up for CodeRED Emergency Alerts. Find more information and sign-up at www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/CodeRED.
  • Have your Go Bag ready. Find a Go Bag checklist on page 20 of our Ready, Set, Go! Guide.
  • Use the Ready Nevada County Dashboard to find evacuation maps, Twitter feeds and recent CodeRED Emergency Alerts:. visit www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/MobileDashboard from your cell phone or www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/Dashboard from your desktop.
  • During a Red Flag Warning, local fire departments will place physical Red Flags outside their fire stations or nearby areas to increase public awareness of increased fire conditions. Follow all Red Flag warning recommendations found here: www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/RedFlagWarning.
  • Know the sound of Hi-Lo Sirens to alert you of an Evacuation Order
  • If you are evacuating and have time, please attach the evacuation tag provided by OES and the Sheriff’s Office to a visible spot on your residence like a mailbox or green address sign. Learn more at www.ReadyNevadaCounty.org/EvacuationTags..

Backyard Fire Pit Safety Tips from CAL FIRE:

  • Open flames and fire pits are discouraged until after several rainy days.
  • Only have fire pits in safe locations.
  • Vegetation is extremely dry right now and fires can spread rapidly even on cool days.
  • Propane is usually safer than wood fired pits.
  • Check wind direction before lighting a fire.
  • Don’t use flammable fluids (gasoline, lighter fluid, etc.) to light or relight fires.
  • Don’t wear flammable clothing (like nylon) or any loose-fitting clothing.
  • Keep children and pets at least 3 feet away from the fire.
  • Avoid using soft woods like pine or cedar, because they can “pop” and throw sparks.
  • Use extreme caution when adding wood or “mixing” burning logs due to ability of embers to escape the pit.
  • Always cover your fire with a screen and contain it with a “fireproof” enclosure such as brick or rock.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher, garden hose, or bucket of water nearby.
  • Extinguish the pit completely before leaving unattended.

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