Understand Evacuation Terms


Learn these terms so you are ready to follow instructions from emergency managers.

Evacuation Advisory/Warning: Residents are advised of a potential threat to life and property. There is a possibility for an Evacuation Order. It is always recommended you evacuate early.

Evacuation Order: Evacuation is mandatory. Residents need to immediately move out of the area due to an imminent threat (two hours or less).

Temporary Assembly Area: You may be directed to a temporary assembly area for evacuees to assemble until conditions subside and evacuation routes are accessible. Be aware this may not be available in an emergency.

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Nevada County Sheriff, Grass Valley Police, and Nevada City Police have all installed new sirens on their patrol cars and will only use them for evacuations. Familiarize yourself with the sound and immediately initiate you evacuation plan if you hear it. Nevada County Sheriff’s Office have created a video to help prepare you and your family. You can see and hear it here.


Level 1: Open to emergency responders, critical resources (public works, utilities, animal rescue) and residents only.

Level 2: Closed to all traffic except emergency responders and critical resources.

Level 3: Closed to all traffic except emergency responders.

Level 4: Closed to all traffic due to potential hazard to life.

One-way Evacuation Operations: All the travel lanes on a designated section of road proceed in one direction, heading away from an approaching wildland fire. This provides a way to handle the additional traffic anticipated as residents and visitors leave the area in advance of a wildland fire.


Be sure to obey officers’ directions and follow traffic cones and route markers.Message boards may be used to provide key information. Please follow instructions and remain calm. Stopping to talk to officers during an emergency is not recommended as it slows the evacuation process.