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Evacuation FAQs

What should I do if I did not receive an AlertMarin notification?

If you did not receive a notification, verify your registration with AlertMarin (if you registered online, log in at, or call 415-473-6584).  Note:  If you live in Lucas Valley Estates, Office of Emergency Management failed to include your address in the AlertMarin practice notification. If you are uncertain about your AlertMarin status, register again online or call 415-473-6584. 

Is there a suggested radio station for fire updates, evacuation routes and destinations?

KCBS radio channels 740AM and 106.9FM relay emergency information from state and local authorities.

What can be done to improve the inadequate cell phone coverage in Lucas Valley?

Report service failures to your wireless carrier.  Supervisor Mary Sackett has asked that residents provide documentation of specific areas with no service and the wireless carrier(s) involved.


How much time will we have to evacuate?

The amount of time we will have is entirely unpredicable and dependent on weather and fire behavior.  Plan for an Evacuation Order that might be, "Go Now."

How many minutes should it take to get into your evacuation vehicle and ready to go?

Your goal should be ten minutes or less.

Should we take time to don ember-resistant clothing, masks and goggles before evacuating?

Yes, if smoke/embers are in the air.  No, if air is clear and the change will significantly delay departure; be sure to have these items accessible in your vehicle cabin.

Do we really need to leave windows and doors open? Seems a perfect invitation for criminal types to access our home and remove valuables.

In a wildfire evacuation, windows should be closed to limit fire ignition and smoke intrusion.  Doors should be closed but unlocked for firefighter access.  Gates should be unlocked and, if combustible construction, propped open to protect the home.  When an evacuation order is issued, law enforcement is positioned to restrict access to the evacuated area and patrol for signs of unauthorized activity.  If you evacuate with everything locked, firefighters may not be able to save your home. 

What can be done to help prepare our children for wildfire?

Engage them as you plan, prepare and practice.  Give them responsibility for their go bags, leashing pets, protecting your home.  Knowing what to do and why replaces fear of the unknown and practice prevents panic. 


How many vehicles will likely be trying to evacuate at the same time?

Lucas Valley includes 1,200 homes and we can expect that many vehicles in a mass evacuation.

What traffic management should we expect if Lucas Valley were under an Evacuation Order?

An AlertMarin notification of the order should provide instruction on evacuation route(s) and destination(s).  Emergency services (Sheriff, CHP) would manage traffic along Lucas Valley Rd.  Vehicles turning eastbound would be controlled at key intersections.  Contraflow may be used to divide the road into 2 eastbound lanes for evacuees and 1 westbound lane for emergency vehicles.

How soon traffic management would be in place depends on wildfire conditions, timing of notification and availability of emergency services personnel. 

Residents should be prepared to self-manage orderly vehicle evacuation until emergency services are in place, and allow vehicles to enter Lucas Valley Rd. at any uncontrolled intersections. 

Will there be volunteers directing traffic at Lucas Valley Rd. intersections in an evacuation?

This capability has not been developed.  Volunteer traffic control has been planned for temporary refuge areas and practiced for an alternative evacuation route and in the Lucas Valley Homeowners Assn. community, though not for access to Lucas Valley Rd. 

Is it okay to drive over speed limit, if safe, and ignore street signs (e.g., bike lanes) in an evacuation?

Safety is vital in an evacuation.  Panic is deadly - one accident can destroy an evacuation route.

Would fire trucks be able to get into areas west of Miller Creek Road?

Access for firefighting vehicles could be delayed by gridlocked traffic though there is more than one access point to nearly all neighborhoods.  All the more reason to practice calm and orderly evacuation to identify and resolve potential problems. 


Will buses be available to evacuate those who need transportation?

Availability of bus transportation will depend on the wildfire incident.  If there is time to move buses to those in need, the incident command should request transportation resources.  If fire conditions do not allow time to obtain transportation, firefighting resources should be deployed to protect those residents. 

What if we have to evacuate schools in addition to the residents?

Incident Command would assess wildfire conditions to determine whether firefighting resources should be deployed to protect school students and staff sheltering in place or transportation should be secured for their evacuation. 

Evacuation Routes

How can we be safe in gridlocked traffic with the heavy vegetation along Lucas Valley Road?

In almost every circumstance, you are safer evacuating in your vehicle on a paved surface with 30 ft. of clearance from burning vegetation than you would be in your home with its extensive fuel load and proximity to combustible vegetation.  Your vehicle cabin air must be on recirculate and you should wear an N95 face mask to minimize exposure to toxic smoke from poison oak along the south side of Lucas Valley Rd.  Temporary refuge areas may offer safer alternatives. 

Can alternative evacuation routes be used to reduce congestion?

Yes, the safe routes will be determined based on fire behavior and may include Miller Creek Rd., and/or Las Gallinas Ave.  In a wildfire, Lucas Valley Rd. westbound is unlikely to be a safe alternative.

Why was the restricted section of Idylberry Rd. between Mt. Lassen Dr. and Huckleberry Rd. not used for the evacuation practice?

The objective was to evaluate capacity and conditions on Lucas Valley Rd.  An evacuation practice using the restricted section of Idylberry Rd. was conducted on Sept. 24th.

Why is the section of Idylberry Rd. between Mt. Lassen Dr. and Huckleberry Rd. restricted for normal traffic?

This area is used extensively by residents walking, jogging and bicycling.  Movement of County Parks vehicles and equipment, security at juvenile hall and substantial cost of improvements to meet public road standards are additional concerns. 

Is Old Lucas Valley Rd. viable as an alternative evacuation route?

Not without major improvements.  Access to Old Lucas Valley Rd. is restricted, vegetation is heavy and the road is not maintained.

Is evacuation on foot or bicycle a safe alternative to long traffic delays on Lucas Valley Road?

No!  Evacuees on foot or bicycle are unprotected from embers and smoke from wildfire. 

Why was the Sheriff's Office parking lot at Los Gamos Dr. used as the destination?

Los Gamos Dr. would not be an evacuation destination.  This location is Office of Emergency Management headquarters and the closest point to count vehicles and interact with participants.  Choice of traffic flow and insufficient volunteers added to the congestion - Apologies! 

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