Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness

According to the El Dorado County Chief Administrative Office, “Fire is a factor living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada and the "fire season" of years past, that was limited to a few months, has now grown to encompass nearly the entire calendar year.”

With fire safety and emergency preparedness in mind, we’ve gathered helpful resources to prepare your homes for fire safety and to prepare yourselves for emergencies.

Click Here for information on power shutoffs for your address.

Learn about the El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club

In case of wildfire, we need to know what’s coming, be prepared with an evacuation kit, and have a plan in place.
Phone lines, cell towers, and the internet can fail us in case of a wildfire. Wildfires move quickly and can destroy our usual methods of warning (as in the Camp Fire of 2018 which decimated the communities of Paradise, Magalia, and Concow in Northern California). The fire moved so quickly that power/phone lines and cell towers crumpled. The fire hit without warning.

The El Dorado County Amateur Radio Club (EDCARC), has established many local Neighborhood Radio Watch (NRW) programs. Its purpose is to relay important local information so that individuals can make appropriate decisions for themselves. EDCARC members are all volunteers and are very helpful at getting people up to speed.

The Neighborhood Radio Watch does NOT take the place of dialing 911 nor does it originate evacuation orders or emergency services. The radio net comes into play for less formal communications and can help when the usual communication systems fail. The radio net repeats emergency warnings after they have been verified and it provides a means for neighbors to share information with other neighbors in a manner that is far more efficient than other means.

To learn more about the Placerville Neighborhood Radio Watch group, click on this link.

For a great overview and radio use instructions, click on this link for the Oak Hill Neighborhood Radio Watch program website.

General Resources

  • See the Episcopal Relief and Development's A Season of Resilience weekly plan for disaster preparedness.

  • “Ready, Set, Go!” is CalFire's (The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection) Wildfire Action Plan booklet for both fire safety and emergency preparedness. "You can dramatically increase your safety and the survivability of your property by preparing well in advance of a wildfire. This brochure provides comprehensive information on how to improve your home’s resistance to wildfires and prepare your family to be ready to leave early in a safe manner." 

  • Click here to see CalFire's "Fire Locations Map" to find out where all of that smoke is coming from.

  • Click here for PG&E power outage updates and Here for their Weather Awareness page.

  • From the "Living with Fire" website, see their "Prepare for Wildfire - Pack a To-Go Bag" page. 

  • The Red Cross has prepared this Disaster Preparedness Booklet by Seniors for Seniors

  • See Alan Thompson's account of the Camp Fire under Another Great Resource at the bottom of this page.

El Dorado County Resources

“The County developed a vegetation management/defensible space ordinance similar to CAL FIRE's defensible space laws.” It sets out rules and annual requirements for “the abatement of the growth and/or accumulation of weeds, grasses, shrubs, dormant brush, hardwood slash, tree limbs, hazardous vegetation and combustible materials on all improved parcels and designated unimproved parcels within the County as well as maintenance of those parcels to prevent vegetation from becoming fuel for destructive fires.”

Check out the following links:

To read the ordinance, click here.

For recorded information about the Vegetation Management ordinance call 530-621-4663. If you have a question, please leave a message and your call will be returned. You may also send an email to

City of Placerville Resources

If you are concerned about adjacent or nearby parcels to your own that are not in compliance with the ordinance, you can submit a Complaint Form to request the City contact the owner. This is similar to El Dorado County’s “Good Neighbor Policy” (see above: El Dorado County Vegetation Management Frequently Asked Questions)

The City uses the CA Fire Safe Council brochures for vegetation management guidelines:

Click here for the Placerville Fire Safe Council Facebook page.

And click here for other Fire Safe Councils.

Another Great Resource

Local resident, Alan Thompson, was part of a four-person, disaster-recovery team dispatched to Butte County on November 17, 2018, to help restore cell phone service destroyed by the Camp Fire which decimated the communities of Paradise, Magalia and Concow.

Alan says, “Working there turned me into an "Accidental Advocate" for community and fire safety. I realized that disasters like the Camp Fire could happen in my own home town of Placerville. They've happened in California and throughout the US. I now travel throughout Northern California and Western Nevada meeting with Fire Safe Councils, Ham Radio Clubs, Civic Groups, and Homeowners' Associations to alert others to the dangers we face from an over-dependence on vulnerable communications services in the event of disasters.

He prepared this presentation, "Phones, Fires and Failures", which was widely scheduled and attended by cities and organizations until the COVID-19 shelter-in-place mandate. It is well worth your time to watch his account of the event.