Need to Evacuate? Know Where to Go


Natural disasters are possible at any time of the year. During summertime, it’s often wildfire, but earthquakes, floods, Tahoe Tessie crashing around the North Shore like Godzilla, and other events could also take place. If such an event occurs, knowing the fastest route out of town is critical.

We reached out to a few agencies in our coverage area to help residents and visitors understand which way and where to evacuate if the worst happens. Anne Rarick was hired last fall as the newly formed Tahoe-Truckee Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD) manager, and she also chimes in with basic intel for residents during emergency situations.

Illustration by Sarah Miller/Moonshine Ink



Important to note, of course, that one or many of the access points could be out of commission because of said emergency event — have a plan B, C, and D ready just in case.

~ AH

A CLOSER LOOK at the Truckee neighborhoods shows the traffic movements recommended during an emergency. This is for reference only, as the flow of vehicles could change based on the event taking place. Courtesy map

What are the evacuation routes for residents and visitors of Truckee/North Tahoe during an emergency situation?

Evacuation routes will be determined at the time of the incident. The map above is for reference only. Residents and visitors should be prepared with a go bag and a trusted source of information that will list the zones (Aware Zonehaven, — to become Protect Genasys,, on June 27) being evacuated. Sign up for Code Red (Nevada County and Town of Truckee) for the latest messaging. You can also listen to local media (101.5 KTKE) and follow Truckee PD on social media for updates. This information is for Town of Truckee only — Placer County residents (even if your mailing address says “Truckee”) need to refer to the Placer County sheriff for details.

211 Connecting Point is a good source of non-emergency information (only use 911 for actual emergencies).

Town of Truckee Animal Services is a good location for all things pet related, including emergency information.

Truckee Fire Protection District also has several good resources for emergency preparedness and green waste pick-up and disposal on their website.

~ Robert “Bob” Womack, CEM, MS, Town of Truckee emergency operations manager

We have three evacuation routes: highway 431 to Reno; highway 28 to highway 50 to Carson City; highway 28 to highway 267 to Truckee.

Washoe County Emergency Management is the agency of authority for evacuations, and we work in tandem with them during an incident, specifically a fire incident, to help determine the best evacuation route based on the fire origin and projected path.

(Editor’s note: In May, Washoe County Emergency Management and North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District launched a new real-time evacuation platform, called Perimeter. Click here for more information.)

~ Tia Rancourt, North Lake Tahoe Fire District public education/information officer

During an emergency, the Placer County Sheriff’s Office operates in unified command with Cal Fire and is trained to respond according to the specifics of a developing crisis. This means PCSO coordinates with Cal Fire to determine the potential hazards and then instructs people on the safest evacuation routes available. Prior to an emergency, state routes 89, 267, and 50 on the California side, as well as state route 50 and highways 431 and 207 on the Nevada side, should be considered potential emergency evacuation roadways. Our first responders cannot commit to a specific evacuation route until the variables of a particular crisis are considered, but they are well-trained to respond quickly and will provide instruction when the time comes.

Tahoe residents should have confidence that their first responder agencies are properly trained and prepared to handle a major emergency, but it’s important to remember that we all have individual responsibility. Be prepared to leave quickly and have a personal bag packed with the necessary items that you will need should the evacuation order remain in place for several days. Most importantly, sign up for Placer Alert to receive emergency notifications from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office and visit the Ready Placer dashboard for important updates during an emergency.

The county is currently in discussions with its first responder agencies to further evaluate evacuation planning in the North Lake Tahoe region and will be sharing additional information with the public in the near future.

~ Placer County Office of Emergency Services

What is Connecting Point and how do you help during emergency situations?

Connecting Point’s 24/7 call center is an information hub that connects people with local and regional programs and services.

During a wildfire event, 211 coordinates very closely with the Office of Emergency Services, the Town of Truckee, and Nevada and Placer counties sheriffs’ offices to get accurate, timely information to share with the community. Our call agents can give you information about evacuations, shelters, transportation, and other available resources.

To get connected, dial 211, text your zip to 898-211, or online,

Para obtener ayuda en español, marque 2-1-1 o envíe un mensaje de texto con su código postal al 898211.

~ Anne Rarick, MPH, Tahoe-Truckee COAD manager


  • Alex Hoeft

    Alex Hoeft joined Moonshine staff in May 2019, happy to return to the world of journalism after a few years in community outreach. She has both her bachelor's and Master's in journalism, from Brigham Young University and University of Nevada, Reno, respectively. When she's not journalism-ing, she's wrangling her toddler or reading a book — or doing both at the same time.

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