Local Emergency FireSafe Evacuation Info

Highway 108 FireSafe Council
Tuolumne County, California
Emergency Disaster Information
(Information verified as of May 2007)

This is information you need to read before a wildfire in your area. The following information was provided by your local Tuolumne County government emergency service agencies.

  • Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services (OES)
  • Tuolumne County Fire Department (TCFD)
  • Cal Fire (formerly California Department of Forestry – CDF)

Sonora commercial broadcast radio stations will provide timely evacuation Information. During an emergency, there are several places to find information regard­ing the status of the emergency, evacuations and emergency shelters. Emergency information will be given on Sonora radio stations. Residents are encouraged to listen to one of the following radio stations during an emergency:

  • KVML-AM 1450 MHz
  • KKBN-FM 93.5 MHz
  • KZSQ-FM 92.7 MHz

Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services (OES) information lines (when activated):

  • (209) 533-6981 or (209) 533-6982

Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department non-emergency telephone number:

  • (209) 533-5815 (routine)
  • Dial 911 on your telephone for emergencies only

Have your own radio scanner? Monitor the CDF Tuolumne/Calaveras radio dispatch frequency: 151.175 MHz

Are you a Ham Radio Operator? Monitor the TCARES repeater at 147.945 MHz (CTCSS 100, -600)


Local fire information may be obtained at Mother Lode Internet: www.mlode.com (verified). Local wildfire news items frequently updated.

Listen to local fire radio traffic via the Internet at www.mymotherlode.com/Fire_Information/scanner.php (verified). Monitor Tuolumne County and Calaveras County emergency services two-way radio traffic.

Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services website at www.tuolumnecounty.ca.gov (verified). Local information concerning wildfires, flooding and other emergencies.

Cal Fire Major Fire Incidents website at www.fire.ca.gov/incidents/ (verified, but not available to the public at this time). Statewide information on Cal Fire current fires and status.

California Office of Emergency Services (OES) website at www.oes.ca.gov (verified). State OES information on large-scale emergency services.

Stanislaus National Forest Fire Information website at www.fs.fed.us/r5/fire (verified). Pacific Southwest Region, including Stanislaus National Forest fire status information.

GoMAC Wildland Fire Support website at www.geomac.gov (verified). Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination – Wildfire mapping of current fires near you.

Evacuation Orders

You will often hear the terms Voluntary and Mandatory to describe evacuation orders. However, local jurisdictions may use other terminology such as Precautionary and Immediate Threat. These terms are used to alert you to the significance of the danger. ALL evacuation instructions pro­vided by Tuolumne County officials should be followed immediately for your own safety.

Long Before a Fire Threatens, Create and Maintain:

  • A Defensible Space around your home and other structures on your property
  • Be involved in fire safe planning in your community

Prepare an Evacuation Checklist and Organize:

  • Critical medications
  • Important personal papers, photos, etc
  • Essential valuables
  • Pet and livestock transport, limited amount of pet food
  • Change of clothing, toiletries, etc
  • Cellular phone with an extra battery
  • Battery-operated AM/FM portable radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Critical papers and effects in a fire proof safe
  • An Evacuation Route Map with at least two routes *
  • Drive your planned route of escape before an actual emergency *
  • Remember, * during evacuation, law enforcement and other emergency personnel may determine your route.

The Law

Whenever a menace to the public health or safety is created by a calamity such as flood, storm, fire, earthquake, explosion, accident, or other disaster, officers of the law may close the area where the menace exists.

Remember: Any unauthorized person who willfully and knowingly enters an area that has been closed and who willfully remains within the area after receiving notice to evacuate or leave shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. [California Penal Code 409.5 (c)]

If Evacuation is a Possibility

Locate your Evacuation Checklist and assemble the items on it. Place the items in your vehicle.

  • Park your vehicle facing outward and carry your car keys with you. Carry a whistle on your keychain
  • Locate your pets and keep nearby (have a leash available for dogs. Keep collars on with license tags attached)
  • Prepare farm animals for transport
  • Place a ladder outside for roof access
  • Place connected garden hoses and buckets full of water around the house
  • Assemble fire-fighting tools near an outside door (shovel, rake, hoe, etc.)
  • Move propane BBQ appliances away from structures
  • Cover yourself up. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, hat or cap, dry bandanna for face cover, goggles or safety glasses. 100% cotton clothing preferable
  • Leave lights on in the house – door unlocked
  • Leave windows closed – air conditioning off

Evacuation Notification

Residents will be advised of potential hazards and the possibility of evacuation. Residents should prepare for the following alternatives and will be given instruction as to travel routes and safe locations.

The three types of evacuation warnings are as follows:

  • Evacuation Advisory: Issued to the media to alert the public to potential evacuation orders. The advisory will contain general information on how to prepare for an evacuation.
  • Evacuation Warning: Issued when an evacuation order is eminent. It includes the specific geographical area that may be evacuated and procedures to follow.
  • Evacuation Order: Issued when there is an immediate threat to life and/or property. The evacuation order contains specific geographic areas to be evacuated and procedures to be followed.

What would happen in the case of an evacuation

  • The fire department will decide the areas to be evacuated and notify occupants. The areas to be evacuated will depend upon where the fire is, the wind, and fire behavior.
  • Law enforcement agencies are re­sponsible for assisting in evacuation. Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department deputies and other law en­forcement officers will ask residents to evacuate and will be responsible for the security of areas that are evacuated.
  • The American Red Cross will decide where people will be relocated for long-term care. Red Cross will have a representative at the command post. (The Mother Lode Fairgrounds in Sonora has been used previously as a staging area during disasters)
  • The California Highway Patrol (CHP) and Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Depart­ment will control traffic and maintain access for emergency equipment. CHP and Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Department will have representa­tives at the command post.

Know the primary travel routes to get to the safety zones

  • Be prepared to be directed by law enforcement or traffic control person­nel. You must follow their directions.
  • Drive the routes in advance so that you will be prepared for the confusion during an actual emergency.
  • Have a checklist and map ready with all the actions you will take prior to and during the evacuation.

If you are unable to leave your home

  • Stay calm, keep your family together
  • Keep domestic animals inside
  • Call 911 and inform authorities of your location
  • Fill sinks and tubs with cold water
  • Keep doors and windows closed, but unlocked
  • Stay inside your house
  • Stay away from outside walls and windows – Note: It will get hot in your house, but it is much hotter, and more dangerous, outside
  • After the fire passes, and if is safe, check the following areas for fire: the roof and house exterior; under decks and inside your attic; your yard for burning trees and sparks

If you become trapped while in your vehicle

  • Stay Calm
  • Know your exact location
  • Stay In your vehicle
  • Park your vehicle near a road in an area clear of vegetation
  • Close all vehicle windows and vents
  • Cover yourself with wool blanket or jacket
  • Lie on vehicle floor
  • Use your cell phone to call 911 and advise officials

If you are trapped while on foot

  • Stay Calm
  • Know your exact location
  • Stay near a road
  • Cover up by wearing long pants, long sleeved shirt, and a bandanna to cover your face
  • Go to an area clear of vegetation, a ditch or depression if possible
  • Lie face down, cover up
  • Use your cell phone to call 911 and advise officials

Sheltering Options

Shelter in Place: This would be for a low intensity fire where the structures have a good clearance and are made of fire resistant materials and the Fire Depart­ment feels it is safe to stay in your home.

Safety zones: Temporary holding areas for smaller groups of people that provide a safe haven until shelter locations can be established. These locations are distributed throughout the community to provide some areas that are a relatively short distance from their homes.

Red Cross Shelters: The Red Cross establishes shelters for immediate and short-term housing and care of evacuated residents.

Alternative Shelter Locations: Residents who do not wish to use Red Cross shelters should consider determining in advance alternative housing locations. If you choose not to go to a Red Cross Shelter, you are advised to contact the Red Cross to provide information about your location, in the event of family or friends trying to find you.

Planning Your Escape Route

  • The direction of your escape will be dictated by the location of the fire in relation to your home
  • Do not block the travel route of emergency vehicles
  • Fire officials will determine when it is safe for you to return your home. This will be done as soon as possible considering safety and accessibility
  • When the evacuation order is lifted, you will be notified by the local radio sta­tions listed above and by the Social Service Personnel at the emergency housing

When Evacuation Order is lifted and you return home

  • Check the exterior and roof immediately. Extinguish all sparks and em­bers. (If you must climb on the roof, use caution)
  • Check inside the attic for hidden burning embers
  • Check your yard for burning wood­piles, trees, fence posts or other materials
  • Be alert for downed power lines and other hazards
  • Check propane tanks, regulators, and lines before turning gas on
  • Check your entire residence carefully for hidden embers or smoke