YUBA COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Over the past several days, signboards have been appearing at key locations in rural Yuba County.
On them is contact information that residents can use to get ready for an emergency, fire maps, evacuation information and information on where to get early warning alerts.
They were placed at grocery and hardware stores, as well as gas stations on roads going in and out of remote foothill areas where people might end up in an emergency.
“Natural places where foothill residents tend to gather and meet other family members and friends. So we chose those locations on purpose,” said Yuba County Information Officer Rachel Rosenbaum.
It is a decidedly low-tech way to get emergency information out, but Yuba County emergency officials are using every tool they can, especially with fire season here.
Just last fall, the Willow Fire in the remote, northern part of Yuba County destroyed 31 buildings and required a three-week-long evacuation before it was under control.
It was in an area where Yuba County’s CodeRED alert system, which uses landlines, cell phones and internet connections, can be rendered useless.
“Road closures, evacuation shelters, whatnot. Again, our first channel may be social media and that’s just not accessible for everyone,” Rosenbaum said.
Yuba County Sheriff’s Office units have 400 square miles of rugged rural terrain to patrol. Like other rural counties, it has deployed a Hi-Lo siren evacuation alert that can be heard for long distances in the canyons of the foothills.
Emergency services in the county are still urging residents to tie into an alert system and have a safe haven with escape routes planned out ahead of time.
“A buddy system with some neighbors or friends, you should always have a go-bag packed and ready to go,” Rosenbaum said. “You should be ready to go if and when an emergency hits.”
Yuba and other rural counties expect this will be among a long series of Red Flag Warnings that will come through the summer and into the fall.