Thousands of people have been evacuated due to fires in California. We have put together resources (including twitter accounts for you to follow), advice for those on the ground and news coverage of the fires.

To skip to content, please use these links –

If you are in the areas affected by the fires, we hope you stay safe. Please do not underestimate the speed of the fires.

Please also be aware that the communications systems the authorities use to warn people about evacuations have failed in the past. In fires in Northern California last October, phone networks failed and emergency services had to go door to door warning people to leave. Please factor this in to your plans.

The Camp Fire in Butte County, just north of Sacramento, has killed at least five people and destroyed over 2,000 structures. This has centered around the town of Paradise. The National Guard have been deployed to help with evacuation efforts.

The Hill Fire and Woolsey Fire are burning in the Los Angeles area and mandatory evacuation orders are in place. Click through here for information on the evacuation areas, shelters and other resources.

Travel advice

If you are in the region – 

  • Monitor the local media.
  • Follow the Twitter accounts recommended below. Enable push notifications, so that you will know as soon as new information is shared. 
  • Look up and save contact details for your local embassy or consular services, and emergency services (different branches may have different numbers). For all contact information, make sure you make a note of it in an offline location too – you may need to make a call from a payphone or landline after your phone battery has died.
  • Be aware that the fires are impacting on infrastructure – phone lines are down and evacuation routes may be compromised.
  • Make sure you have your travel insurance information to hand and know when to call. If you have booked your trip through a travel agent or a tour company, keep that information stored safely too. 
  • Keep mobile devices charged. 
  • Put aside an evacuation kit in case you need to move quickly. Include food that will not spoil and bottled drinking water, ID, travel documents, insurance information and other important paperwork, a first aid kit, medication, torch, phone charge, batteries, cash.
  • Know what form evacuation notices will take – siren, police announcement, text message, etc – and be prepared to comply with them. 
  • Follow the advice from local authorities. 
  • Be prepared for delays and disruption.
  • Check in with friends and family.
  • If something bad happens, and you are a foreign national, check in with your local embassy as soon as it is safe to do so. 

If you are heading to the region soon – 

  • Check in with your travel agent to find out if your trip will be impacted. 
  • Monitor media reports.
  • Talk to your travel insurance provider to check what is/is not covered, and plan accordingly. 

Resources

In an emergency, call 911.

The Ready.Gov website has further advice and information on how to prepare for a wildfire and what to do if you are caught in one. Take screenshots of the information to refer to later.

Twitter accounts to follow

Northern California fires

Also follow the  hashtag.

Southern California fires

Also follow the  and hashtags.

Smoke danger and health risks

Due to the smoke across the region, people with respiratory issues should talk to a doctor about steps they can take to reduce their risk. Small children, the elderly and people with poor health are particularly susceptible.

N95 masks have been mentioned in several reports as a mask that offers some protections against smoke particles. If you or someone in your care is vulnerable to health issues caused by smoke, please talk to a doctor as soon as possible.

Nuclear site fire

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control released a statement on Friday after the Woolsey Fire burned brush near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory. This is a retired nuclear facility that has been the ‘subject of controversial and stalled cleanup efforts for decades.’ The statement included –

Our scientists and toxicologists have reviewed information about the fire’s location and do not believe the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.

There is an air monitoring network around the perimeter of the SSFL site. As soon as access is open we will evaluate the site, the air monitoring stations, and available data.

Official travel advice

Headlines and coverage

 

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