River Fire Recovery

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What to do after a wildfire, if you lost your home or had fire damage to your home or property:

  1. Apply for Assistance from FEMA:  Assistance from FEMA may help you and members of your household affected by a disaster take care of necessary expenses and serious needs that cannot be met through insurance or other forms of assistance. Residents and business owners who sustained lossesma begin applying for assistance by registering online at http://www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA(3362) or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the hearing and speech impaired. The toll-free telephone numbers will operate from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) seven days a week until further notice. See below for additional fact sheets and assistance information. 
  2. Contact your insurance provider. First, residents affected should get in contact with their insurance agent before removing anything or doing any clean-up on their property. Cleaning up before contacting your insurance company could result in a loss of insurance claims. Please work with your agent, insurer claims adjuster, and insurer to achieve a settlement that you believe is fair and consistent with your coverage. If you have a question about your insurance or a dispute with your insurer, please call the California Department of Insurance (CDI) at 1-800-927-4357. Find more wildfire insurance resources on the California Department of Insurance's website: http://www.insurance.ca.gov/.  
  3. Enroll in the Fire Recovery Navigation Program: Residents may call 211 Connecting Point at 2-1-1 or 1-833-DIAL211 to enroll in the Navigation program for support throughout the entire recovery process. 
  4. Replace lost or damaged ID and documents. Fire victims who need to replace lost or damaged DMV-related documents can do so free of charge at a local DMV field office. You may also have Nevada County Birth, Death, and Marriage records replaced at NO COST per Governor Gavin Newsom Emergency Proclamation 07/2021 at Nevada County Clerk-Recorder’s Office. Contact 530-265-1221 or visit Vital Requests | Nevada County, CA (mynevadacounty.com) for more information. Nevada County only has records for vitals that occurred in our county. Contact the proper county the event took place.
    Divorce records are located at Superior Court in Nevada City Superior Court of California, County of Nevada (nccourt.net)
    Visit California Secures Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to Support Wildfire Response and Recovery Efforts 8.24.21 | California Governor for more details on fires in California.
  5. Fill out an Application for Reassessment of Property from the Nevada County Assessor's Office on or before the next property tax installment payment date deadline to request the county assessor to defer payment of that installment of property taxes on the regular secured roll for the current fiscal year. Please complete, sign and return this form to the Nevada County Assessor's Office to assist us with completing the process to assess the extent of the fire damage to your property and potential resulting value reduction.  
  6. Clean-up fire damage to property. Nevada County declared a local Health Emergency and is currently working with the State to request Federal FEMA funding for individual and public losses related to the River Fire. This request is still under review. If a property owner would like to move forward with private property clean-up, Nevada County Community Development Agency has guidelines available for debris and ash clean-up after a wildfire
  7. River Fire Recovery Information - Subscribe Web Button (1) Opens in new windowApply for Nevada County Relief Fund for River Fire: The Nevada County Relief Fund is fundraising to provide emergency relief to wildfire survivors. Funds raised through this effort will be made available to wildfire survivors requesting short-term assistance to fill immediate needs such as temporary accommodations, groceries, gas, etc. or make repairs necessary to help get people rehoused. These requests will be vetted by County caseworkers. 
  8. Complete the Preliminary Damage Assessment Survey: If you have experienced structural losses, please complete this Damage Survey, to help the County of Nevada assess your losses.  

Recovery Efforts

As residents pick up the pieces and move forward it is important to understand what resources are available. Fire damages are not the only costs associated with a large-scale wildfire. Fire suppression, law enforcement, evacuation, staff time and environmental impacts are other factors that must be considered.

  • September 9th-12th: FEMA Mobile Registration Intake Centers for River Fire survivors to open Sept. 9-12
  • August 24th: President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Approves California Disaster Declaration 
  • August 11th: Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a notice to insurers of a forthcoming bulletin requiring a moratorium against non-renewal or cancellation of residential property insurance policies in Nevada, Placer, Shasta, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity Counties.
  • August 10th: the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution proclaiming a Local Emergency in Nevada County due to the River Fire.  
  • August 10th: the Nevada County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution ratifying a Local Health Emergency Proclamation by the Nevada County Deputy Public Health Officer due to the immediate public health threat caused by hazardous waste and debris from the River Fire.
  • August 5th: Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed the State of Emergency. listing Nevada County among others.  This proclamation opens up Nevada County to limited financial assistance and reimbursement for losses related to the River Fire.
  • August 5th: Nevada County Assistant Director of Emergency Management proclaimed a local emergency for the River Fire.   This proclamation, like the one above from the State, opens Nevada County to limited financial assistance and reimbursement for losses related to the River Fire.

The State also requested Federal FEMA funding for individual and public losses related to the River Fire. This request is still under review.

Recovery ResourcesSequence of the same fire plane dropping retardant.

Federal Emergency Management Agency Fact Sheet

Nevada County Environmental Health

CalOES Debris Frequently Asked Question's

Know Before You Go Home - Effects of Ash/Burn Debris

Nevada County Assessor

Nevada County Building Department

Nevada County Agricultural Commissioner

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About the River Fire

The River Fire started in the early afternoon on Wednesday, August 4th at the Bear River Campground and impacted both Nevada and Placer Counties. Below is a summary of the total damage assessment for both counties:

  • Acres Burned: 2,619 
  • Structures Destroyed:
    • Single-family residential: 102
    • Commercial: 1
    • Outbuildings: 39
  • Structures Damaged: 21
  • Residents Evacuated (Nevada County only):4,298 

Thanks to the hard work of our local firefighters along with CAL FIRE and the quick and proactive evacuations from our Nevada County Sheriff's Office along with law enforcement partners, many homes were saved and no lives were lost.