Visitor’s Guide to Wildfire Season in Truckee, California

Visitors Guide to Wildfires Truckee

Planning a trip to Truckee during wildfire season? Here’s what you need to know. We rounded up some of your frequently asked questions and created this guide to help visitors be prepared. Read through it to learn what you can do to be ready for fire and the steps to take if a wildfire occurs.

Tahoe National Forest Update

The Tahoe National Forest is open for day use and most recreation. Restrictions remain in place for camping and firearm use. Revised fire restrictions are in place and there is NO smoking and NO building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire or stove on all National Forests in California. Gas stoves are allowed within Developed Recreation Sites only (i.e. official campgrounds). Read the news release.

When is wildfire season in Truckee, California?

Summer and fall are typically considered peak wildfire season in the Sierra. During this time, high temperatures, low precipitation, and strong winds combine to form extremely dry conditions. If you are visiting during the summer and fall, be alert and prepared for wildfires at any time and pay special attention to Red Flag Warnings

What can I do to prevent wildfires?

First and most importantly, never have an open flame. There is a district-wide residential fire ban in place for Truckee as well as a fire ban on all California State Parks lands in the Sierra District, which includes Donner Memorial State Park. The fire bans prohibit campfires, charcoal grills, and burning anything other than gas. During Red Flag Warnings, ALL open flames are prohibited.

Keep this in mind when planning a trip in a Truckee mountain home, Airbnb or VRBO. Instead of burgers on the grill, plan meals that can be cooked indoors, or explore the dining options in Truckee’s vibrant food scene. We know that making s’mores is the quintessential mountain vacation experience for kids, but fire danger doesn’t have to ruin your fun. Try this indoor s’mores recipe instead that can be done safely in a kitchen!

Most wildfires are human-caused which means prevention starts with you! There are many ways to prevent them, adhering to current fire bans is just one. Regardless of your length of stay, everyone should follow these tips to Prevent a Wildfire From Burning Down Truckee & Lake Tahoe. Remember to stay alert during your trip and if you see something, say something!

What should I do if there are active fires in California?

Wildfires are a frequent occurrence in California, especially now that the season is becoming longer each year. Before visiting, check if there are active fires are affecting the Truckee-Tahoe region on the Ready Nevada County Dashboard. You can also view a list of active CalFire incidents and a fire map of US Forest Service incidents. Because California is such a large state, wildfires in Los Angeles, for example, do not pose a safety threat to Truckee although they may affect air quality. 

How can I be prepared for wildfire during my trip? 

  1. Know before you go!
  2. Carry an emergency kit in your car
  3. Stay up to date on Truckee weather and Red Flag Warnings 
  4. Pay attention to emergency alerts
  5. Talk to your lodging provider before your visit 
  6. Know your closest evacuation route 

Where can I find travel information for Truckee?

The key to a successful trip, no matter what time of the year, is to do your research and know before you go. Weather and conditions change rapidly in Truckee, as does the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation. Before your trip, visit Truckee.com/knowbeforeyougo for the very latest travel updates and information.

What should I carry in my emergency kit?

If you are driving to Truckee, please keep a small emergency kit in your car. At a minimum, your kit should include the following:

  • Face covering
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Flashlight
  • Backup power for your phone
  • Physical map of Truckee

What are Red Flag Warnings?

Red Flag Warnings are issued by the National Weather Service on days when conditions are prime for extreme wildfires. On Red Flag Days, ALL open flames are prohibited, including gas grills and gas firepits. Take extra precautions on Red Flag Days and follow instructions from the Truckee Fire Protection District.

Where can I get updates and alerts?

Use these resources for the most up to date alerts and notifications during Red Flag days and wildfire incidents:

What questions should I ask my lodging provider?

When we are in wildfire season, check in with your lodging provider before traveling to Truckee. Your hotel, vacation rental, or bed & breakfast should be able to provide information on your evacuation route and local conditions. Know before you go. Be informed and you’ll have peace of mind. Ask if there are any road closures disrupting travel to your accommodations, or other closures affecting trails or tourist sites.

How can I find an evacuation route?

If there is an active wildfire near Truckee, use the Ready Nevada County Dashboard to see current evacuation notices and evacuation routes. The dashboard map outlines exactly what neighborhoods need to evacuate along with real-time road closures as you plan your route. 

Do you understand the different evacuation terms? Be familiar with them so that you know what to do if a warning or order is issued. A new tool from the Truckee PD is a Hi/Lo evacuation siren that alerts the community to evacuate now. Listen to it and if you hear the Hi/Lo, it’s time to GO! 

What should I do if I see a fire or smoke?

Call 911! If you see an unattended campfire, billowing smoke, or an active wildfire that is not attended, don’t hesitate to call 911. Remember the adage, “if you see something, say something!”

How can I check Truckee’s air quality?

There are many sites that allow you to check air quality in real-time. Below are some that we like to use. Keep in mind that air quality can change quickly with wind shifts or as new fires pop up. 

Siobhan Kenney

About Siobhan Kenney

Siobhan traveled the American West as a National Park Ranger before setting down roots in Truckee. Outdoor adventure is her bread and butter and most days you can find her skiing, trail running, or backpacking.  Follow along with her adventures on Instagram @siokenney.