Newsletter‎ > ‎July 2019‎ > ‎

Fire Preparedness & Evacuation in the Event of a Fire on the San Juan Ridge

posted Jul 11, 2019, 4:34 PM by Kristin Snell

Submitted by Pat Leach on behalf of the San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association

San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Assocation has some pointers taken from a meeting with Nevada County Office of Emergency Services (OES), Nevada County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO), Cal Fire, North San Juan Fire Protection District and other sources   (June 2019)

The Ridge, with its dense vegetation and many unpaved, narrow (and sometimes unmarked) roads presents a challenge to evacuate. You can’t expect fire and law enforcement agencies to come “save” you, though they will do their jobs to the best of their abilities. It is YOUR responsibility to do all you can to be prepared before a fire happens, and during a fire to be aware of the situation and all potential evacuation routes.


When you hear of a Red Flag warning, prepare! See


If you suspect a fire—go outside, look for smoke, observe wind conditions, listen and look for airplane activity, check communication sources


You should have received a booklet in the mail, but if not, see or

· READY: Creating defensible space and home—info and checklists

· SET: Situational awareness, being prepared for evacuation, have Go Bags packed in advance

· GO: Leave when told to do so, or when you feel you should

· If you don’t feel safe, don’t wait—evacuate!


There are no designated “Evacuation Routes” on the Ridge—but signage is being developed

· Be familiar with ALL possible routes out of your neighborhood and away from the fire. This could include North on Hwy 49 towards Downieville or Oroville, up Cruzon towards Grainteville, etc. Think outside the box—Nevada City and Grass Valley may not be the prudent choice, and Highway 49 South may be very congested in both directions

· Only use Edwards or Purdon Crossings as a last resort—they are one lane and very winding on the town side and could easily be blocked by one vehicle or fallen tree; you don’t want to be stuck in the river canyon during a fire!

· Take a day with family to drive different routes out of the neighborhood and to look at ways to get away from the Ridge in different directions

· Establish a meeting point with family in the event you are in separate locations, and identify one friend’s phone number for everyone to call and report to

· It is the Sheriff’s job to tell people to evacuate; Fire agency jobs are to put out the fire


You are strongly discouraged from doing so, but if you must or choose to do so, prepare ahead of time! Read and print out these guidelines for what to do if you get trapped in your house or car:


· Sign up for Code Red on all phones:

· Keep your landline if you have one (power grid, cell towers and internet may go down)

· Have a battery operated radio and tune to KVMR 89.5 FM (designated emergency radio station)

· If possible, get a scanner and program fire channels (ask NSJ Fire Dept for them)

· During a fire, check for updates: Web: Yubanet, County OES Twitter, Cal Fire, County OES. Find these and other links here:

· Try to establish a neighborhood phone tree


· Make sure your driveway is marked with reflective numbers; you can order a sign from NSJ Fire Department or online at the Fire Safe Council:

· If your car is in a garage, make sure you can open the garage door manually

· If you haven’t yet, request a defensible space inspection from the Fire Safe Council

· If you haven’t created defensible space on your property and done fuel clearance along roads, fire personnel may not defend your home

· During an evacuation, neighbors may need help and roads may be congested. Consider carpooling.

· Again, be familiar with the “Ready, Set, Go!” procedure before a fire