Evacuation Terminology

In 2020, the State of California moved to create a more consistent message regarding evacuations. The State opted to utilize the same terminology throughout the state to eliminate confusion. Find below a list of new definitions:

Evacuation Order:

An evacuation order is issued when there is an immediate threat to life. The danger is imminent!

  • This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.
  • Generally, residents will not be forcibly removed from their own property. However, those found to be on public property, including roadways and public parks, may be subject to removal from the area.
  • Once out of the area, the general public will not be permitted to return until conditions permit.
  • Nothing shall prevent a duly authorized representative of any news service, newspaper, radio, or television station or network from entering the area unless the area is determined to be a crime scene.
  • Those found to be interfering with the disaster response are subject to arrest.

Evacuation Warning:

An evacuation warning is issued when there is a potential threat to life and/or property. The threat to life is not yet imminent.

  • Voluntary evacuation orders are issued when residents should begin preparing for a potential mandatory evacuation order to be issued.
  • Due to the potential for rapidly changing conditions to develop into a serious threat, residents are advised to prepare for the possibility of an evacuation order.
  • Those who require additional time to evacuate due to mobility issues or other types of access and functional needs, and those with pets and livestock, should leave when an Evacuation Warning has been issued.
VC Alert
Engine and smoke

Shelter-in-Place Order:

A Shelter-in-Place Order is issued when conditions exist that may endanger the lives of those in a defined area.

  • Access to the area under this type of order may or may not be restricted by a soft or hard road closure.
  • Residents should select interior rooms within their home or business with no or few windows, and take refuge there.
  • Prepare to self-sustain until further notice and/or contacted by emergency personnel for additional direction.