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Visitor's Guide to Wildfire Season in Truckee-Tahoe

Siobhan Kenney
September 2, 2021
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Truckee’s wildfire season is now. If you are visiting, have a plan, stay alert and read our Truckee Travel Alert.


What is a Red Flag Warning?

A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert, issued by the National Weather Service when weather events may result in EXTREME FIRE DANGER within 24 hours. Any combination of the following conditions can trigger a Red Flag Warning: strong winds (25+), high temperature, low humidity levels (20% and below), dry fuels, and the possibility of dry lightning strikes. Take extreme caution during a Red Flag Warning by having NO OPEN FLAMES outdoors from any type of fire source (gas, wood, charcoal, smoking, etc.). 

Where can I check if a Red Flag is in Effect?

Fire Weather Watch vs. Red Flag Warning

Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions (low humidity, gusty winds, dry lightning) in the next 12-72 hours could lead to extreme fire behavior. It's a heads up to get prepared, alerting the public that fire conditions are possible but not imminent or occurring.

Red Flag Warning is issued when critical fire conditions are ongoing or expected to occur within 24 hours.

Learn more from NOAA's Understanding Wildfire Warnings, Watches.

Learn more about Red Flag Warnings


Truckee & Donner Summit Residential Areas

Donner Memorial State Park

Tahoe National Forest

During a Red Flag Warning

Take extreme caution during red flag warnings to prevent sparks. NO OPEN FLAMES from any type of fire source - NO gas, wood, charcoal or smoking.


  1. Bookmark and read our Truckee Travel Alert.
  2. Read our Visitor's Guide to Summer Power Outages.
  3. Carry an emergency kit in your car.
  4. Check Truckee weather and Red Flag Warning status.
  5. Sign up for emergency alerts.
  6. Talk to your lodging provider before your visit.
  7. Know your evacuation zone and closest evacuation routes.

Where are fires burning? How far from Truckee?

During wildfire season, it is not uncommon to have fires burning in other parts of California with no threat to Truckee, although they may affect air quality. Use these resources to see where active fires are and if they affect the Truckee-Tahoe region:

Where can I find travel information for Truckee?

Read and bookmark our Truckee Travel Alert. The key to a successful trip, no matter what time of the year, is to do your research and know before you go! Weather and conditions can change rapidly but we’ll keep you updated daily.

What should I carry in my emergency kit?

If you are driving to Truckee, learn how to assemble an emergency kit and keep it in your car. At a minimum, your kit should include the following:

  • Face covering
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Flashlight
  • Backup power for your phone
  • Print a physical map of Truckee before you go

How can I check Truckee-Tahoe air quality?

Check our weather page for 18 live webcams, eight air quality readings, and smoke + forecast links. Keep in mind that air quality can change quickly with wind shifts or as new fires pop up. Learn about protecting yourself from wildfire smoke from the California Air Resources Board.


  1. What is the address of your stay? Know your evacuation zone and all possible evacuation routes from your location. Your route will not be identified by authorities until an evacuation is actually happening.
  2. Is there road construction? Other than the information we have on the Truckee Travel Alert page, you may wish to ask about road construction and how it may impact travel and evacuation routes.
  3. What is the cancellation policy? Understand your lodging provider's cancellation policy and what your travel insurance will and will not cover.


1. Sign up for emergency notifications by text, email, and phone HERE. Learn more about opt-in alerts HERE.

2. View Ready Nevada County Dashboard and map HERE

3. Follow these social media accounts:


Check out this article from Moonshine Ink about what apps and website pages to keep on your phone to be ready for wildfire.


Know Your Evacuation Zone

Find your Nevada County evacuation zone using Zonehaven. Enter the address of your lodging or residence to find your evacuation zone and view its current status - Evacuation Order, Evacuation Warning, Advisory, Clear to Repopulate, Shelter in Place, or Normal.

Identify Evacuation Routes

Talk with your lodging provider and ask what the closest evacuation routes are. Print a physical map of Truckee and identify at least three evacuation routes from your location. Ready Nevada County Dashboard Evacuation Route Pre-Planner.

How do I know when to evacuate?

Be familiar with the different evacuation terms - Evacuation Order, Evacuation Warning, Shelter in Place - so that you know what to do if an evacuation warning or order is issued. Evacuation Terms Explained.

Listen for Evacuation Sirens

Truckee Police Department's Hi/Lo evacuation siren alerts the community to evacuate now. When you hear this Hi/Lo siren, it's time to GO - evacuate immediately.


If you see an unattended campfire, billowing smoke, or an active wildfire that is not attended, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1. Remember the adage, “if you see something, say something!”


  1. Know Before You Go - Know how to prevent wildfires by properly using outdoor equipment, learning campfire safety, and checking for fire restrictions and closures.
  2. Practice Physical Distancing – Give people space - it’s critical to not crowd firefighting efforts. Wildfires are no-drone-zones. 
  3. Plan Ahead - Know what fire restrictions are in place at your destination, and check if campfires, barbecues, and flammables are allowed.
  4. Play it Safe - From fireworks to camp stoves, understand the potentially explosive nature of your toys and tools, and that some of these may be restricted in your location.
  5. Explore Locally – Impacts from wildfire can change your travel plans. Have a back-up plan, like close-to-home gems that you have yet to explore.
  6. Leave No Trace – Keep your campfire small, ensure that it’s out completely and cold to the touch prior to leaving or going to sleep. 
  7. Build an Inclusive Outdoors - Everyone experiences the outdoors differently, and we can work together to keep our communities safe.
Recreate Responsibly Wildfire Edition

Disclaimer - Information provided on (including and not limited to text, video, graphics, audio or photos) is for educational and informational purposes only. Use of information provided on this page or any other page is at your own risk. Refer to official government, agency and emergency services websites for official information. Privacy, Terms & Conditions.

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