PLACER COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Placer County stretches from the Sacramento Valley into Lake Tahoe and is especially vulnerable to wildfires, which is why officials want to keep residents informed.
“We had the 49 fire in 2009 where 60 structures were destroyed,” said Placer County Fire Capt. Jim Hudson in a public service announcement.
Dry fuels, a growing population and high wind events over the last few years are making firefighters nervous.
For weeks, extra firefighters have been undergoing training, and buffer zones are being created near populated areas by removing wildfire fuels as part of long-term prevention efforts.
But Placer County is also now urging people to sign up for what is called Placer Alert.
“We’ll send you an email, a text message or a phone call letting you know exactly what’s going and some of the steps you can take to try and take those precautions and stay safe,” said Angela Musallam, a spokeswoman with the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.
The message will be targeted to areas where residents need the latest information.
“That information that we’re providing through Placer Alert is life-saving information that we’re going to give to you firsthand with the best intelligence that we have,” said Placer County Sheriff’s Capt. Shayne Wright in the public service announcement.
It is part of a multi-county collaboration to set up early warning systems.
Like other rural counties in California, homes in much of Placer County are only connected by narrow and winding roads. It is all the more reason for an early warning system as the state gets deeper into fire season.
And like other rural counties that have fallen victim to catastrophic wildfires, sheriff patrol units are now equipped with Hi-Lo evacuation sirens in case power, phone or cell service goes down.
County officials want residents to have an evacuation plan, essentials pre-packed, an escape route and a planned destination.
“So if they do need to get out, they are not scrambling and they’re not waiting till the last minute and risking their life,” Musallam said.
The law enforcement alert systems have benefits in other kinds of emergencies by getting out information on floods, severe weather situations and law enforcement actions.