Know Before You Go
August 25, 2021
It is that time of year again when the wildfire season is surrounding us once again this summer. Know before you go! We have been getting quite a few questions from clients where to get the latest info on the surrounding fires and smoke. We wanted to share some sources of information with everyone in the interest of improving everyone's emergency preparedness and wildfire awareness prepared by the folks at Truckee Tahoe Lumber Company. Knowing what's going on around us as we move further into fire season is important and could even save your life or someone else!
Here are some good non-news media sources of info that I have accumulated over the years for fire/smoke conditions, evacuation zones, and weather:
Smoke Current Conditions:
- This website shows you both smoke and a network of air quality sensors with : Fire and Smoke Map (airnow.gov)
- Here are links to Download the free EPA "Airnow" app for EPA AIRNow on the App Store (apple.com) or EPA's AIRNow - Apps on Google Play that show the same thing but run on your phone.
- This website provides the Smoke Forecast Outlooks For the Truckee/Tahoe and Reno Areas (airfire.org).
- This is the NOAA graphical "Area Smoke Forecast" out into the future for Northern California: Area Smoke Forecast (weather.gov)
- The GOES-17 Satellite provides a great overview of the Western US: Sector Images: Pacific Northwest - NOAA / NESDIS / STAR. (Click on the "GeoColor" 2400x2400 link at upper left, updates every 15 minutes)
- The "Incident Information System" Website provides a clickable map of all active wildfires in the US: InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov) Zoom and click on a fire for more info.
- Each named fire has a sub-page (for example the Dixie Fire: Dixie Fire (CA) Information - InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov)) and the Caldor Fire: Caldor Fire Information - InciWeb the Incident Information System (nwcg.gov)
- For literally real-time visual information on new and existing fires, UNR runs a network of mountain top cameras all over CA and Nevada, the AlertCA Wildfire Cam system: ALERTWildfire | Network Map. Pick a region by clicking on the black dot, then the text that pops up. Each camera is a blue triangle, which when you click it shows you the camera's field of view as a red triangular overlay, and the camera in a pop-up. Click the thumbnail image to expand it and see the camera's view. These are great ways to see what is going on in real-time around the region.
- For example Martis Peak ALERTWildfire | Tahoe.
- NASA maintains an interactive map page that shows satellite infrared (hot spots/fires) from space: Fire Map - NASA | LANCE | FIRMS. Use this one with a grain of salt as the info is sometimes delayed and can have location error.
- Twitter is a great resource for real-time information in the event of an emergency. I keep an account that I only use to read fire information. Every year I re-install the app on my phone in the summer, and I only use it to follow all the local Fire Districts and CalFire pages:
Evacuation Zones and Emergency Plan:
- If you live in Nevada County, do you know what evacuation zone you live in? In the event of a close-to-us fire this is what will be broadcast so it's important to know! If not, you can enter your address into this website so you will know what evacuation zone you are in for Nevada County: Zonehaven AWARE | Find your Evacuation Zone now
- Do you have an Evacuation Plan for yourself and your loved ones and pets? Do you have critical documents, medicines, and supplies packed and ready to go? If not this is a great place to start: Evacuation | Ready.gov
- Here is a Tahoe-specific planning tool Get Prepared (tahoelivingwithfire.com)
- CALFIRE's Prep page: Home - Ready for Wildfire
- I can't stress enough how important it is to practice this!! Pick a time on a weekend and time how long it takes you to grab everything you care about in your house. What if you have a half hour to do this? What do you grab, what do you leave? Where would you go? Where will you meet your spouse/partner, parents or kids if your evacuated while away from them? Thinking about these things before you are in a panicked hurry is invaluable.
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