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Visitor's Guide to Wildfire Season in Truckee-Tahoe

Siobhan Kenney
July 20, 2022
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California’s wildfire season is here. Be prepared, have a plan, and stay alert during your visit. For frequent updates, check the Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert. Want a printed version? View and download a PDF of this guide.

See Something, Say Something: Call 911

Don't hesitate to report wildfire safety concerns. CALL 911 if you see billowing smoke, an unattended campfire, an active wildfire that is not attended, or any other immediate threat to life, property, or the environment.

For non-emergencies, Truckee Police can be reached at 530-550-2320.

Fire Bans in Effect

Truckee & Donner Summit Residential Areas

Donner Memorial State Park: Day Use & Camping

Tahoe National Forest: Day Use, Camping, Dispersed Camping

The Tahoe National Forest is in Stage 1 fire restrictions, effective July 20, 2022. 

  • NO WOOD OR CHARCOAL FIRES outside of established fire rings within designated developed campgrounds and picnic areas.
  • NO SMOKING except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a designated campground or recreation area, or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable material.
  • NO MOTOR VEHICLE USE off paved, gravel or dirt National Forest System roads and trails, except within a designated developed Off-Highway Vehicle area.

Dispersed camping is PROHIBITED in Tahoe National Forest "Restricted Use Areas" which include Prosser Reservoir, Boca Reservoir, Stampede Reservoir, and the Hwy 89 corridor south. View maps of Restricted Use Areas (pg. 6-11) and details in FOREST ORDER No. 17-22-06 issued on July 2, 2022.

Understanding Fire Weather and Red Flag Warnings

What is a Red Flag Warning?

A Red Flag Warning is issued by the National Weather Service when weather events may result in extreme fire danger.  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. NO OPEN FLAMES outdoors from any type of fire source (gas, wood, charcoal, smoking, etc.)

Where can I see if a Red Flag Warning is in Effect?

What is the difference between a Fire Weather Watch and Red Flag Warning?

Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions 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 and fire weather.

Plan Ahead: Advice for Visitors

  1. Check the Truckee-Tahoe Travel Alert for updates.
  2. Check NOAA weather forecast for Red Flag Warning alert.
  3. Driving here? Carry an emergency kit in your car.
  4. Read our Visitors Guide to Power Outages to be prepared in the event of a planned power outage (PSOM).
  5. Know where to get emergency alerts.
  6. 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-Tahoe 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.

What should I ask my lodging provider?

  1. What is the address of my lodging? 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. What county is my lodging in? Truckee and Donner Summit span two counties, Nevada County and Placer County. Know which county your lodging is in so that you can sign up for the appropriate emergency notifications.
  3. 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.
  4. What is the cancellation policy? Understand your lodging provider's cancellation policy and what your travel insurance will and will not cover.

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:

How can I check Truckee-Tahoe air quality?

Check our weather page for live webcams, 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.

Roads & Traffic Information

  • Truckee Weather, Roads, Webcams - view our page for traffic information, live traffic cams, NOAA weather forecast, wildfire lookout cams, and more. 
  • Caltrans Mobile QuickMap - download this app for current highway closures, construction, and collisions. Available for Android and iOS.
  • Check Highway Conditions & Status - view current road conditions from Caltrans. For I-80 Road Report – enter 80, Hwy 89 Road Report – enter 89, Hwy 267 Road Report – enter 267.

How to get Emergency Alerts & Updates

  1. Sign up for CodeRED for email and text alerts from Truckee Police, Truckee Fire Protection District, and Nevada County. Learn more about Code Red emergency alerts.
  2. Sign up for Placer Alerts to get emergency notifications from Placer County.
  3. View the Ready Nevada County dashboard and map: desktop version or mobile version.
  4. During a wildland fire, follow the Tahoe National Forest on InciWeb.
  5. Tune into 101.5 FM Truckee Tahoe Radio, 1670 AM, or 780 AM – KOH for emergency broadcasts.

Social Media Accounts to Follow

Twitter

Facebook

What to Keep on Your Phone

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

Be Prepared for Evacuations

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.

Thank you for Recreating Responsibly

As weather warms up and wildland vegetation dries out, it is time to plan for wildfires. We all play a valuable role in preventing wildfires. Nearly nine out of ten wildfires nationwide are human-caused and can be prevented. Follow & share these tips to #RecreateResponsibly and do your part to care for one another and the outdoors.

How to Recreate Responsibly - Wildfire Edition

Disclaimer - Information provided on VisitTruckeeTahoe.com (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 VisitTruckeeTahoe.com 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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