Multi-agency drill will simulate wildfire scenario in Nevada County on Sunday |

Multi-agency drill will simulate wildfire scenario in Nevada County on Sunday

Retired Cal Fire Captain Charlie Jakobs talks to a group of firefighters about the importance of deploying fire shelters during the April fire drill at Lake of the Pines.
Elias Funez/

There’s no substitute for practicing drills, especially when it comes to ensuring clear communication between multiple law enforcement and fire protection agencies during an emergency situation.

That’s why a day-long “wildland urban interface” drill was conducted in April in Lake of the Pines and DarkHorse. And that’s why a second drill is taking place this Sunday in the Cement Hill, Champion Mine and Lake Vera-Purdon Road communities.

“It’s paramount that we work together,” Cal Fire Battalion Chief Matt Wallen said at the April drill, citing the need to adapt to increasingly aggressive fires. “Mother Nature’s not kind anymore. We’ve got to be prepared.”

Fire departments from as far away as Wheatland and Tahoe, law enforcement officers and emergency personnel, volunteers from Nevada County Veterinary Disaster Response team and residents will be among the participants at Sunday’s exercise. The multi-agency drill hosted by Cal Fire’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit was put together to train firefighters on structure defense tactics including home preparation, hose deployment and crew life safety measures, as well as road closures and evacuations.

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During the drill, which will simulate a rapidly growing wildfire within a community of 1,500 homes, firefighters will practice assisting with a multi-company progressive hose lay, hand line construction, and survival strategy and tactics during a crew entrapment/burn-over simulation, among other tasks.

Residents will also participate in the drills. A Code Red “Evacuation Warning” will be sent out with those receiving the notification preparing to evacuate. They will not leave their homes, but will meet with fire personnel for “walk-arounds.” Then, an “Evacuation Order” will be sent out, with residents instructed to vacate their community as best they know how.

Sunday’s drill begins with a general briefing at the Incident Command Post at the Rood Center, 950 Maidu Ave., Nevada City. The initial evacuation warning drill is set to run from 9:30-11:30 a.m. An evacuation order will be sent out at 11:30 a.m. Drills will continue until 4 p.m., with dinner and a debriefing from 4-5 p.m.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 539-477-4236 or by email at

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