Evacuation Terminology and Procedures


Evacuations save lives and allow responding personnel to focus on the emergency at hand.  Please evacuate promptly when requested. 


In the state of Nevada only voluntary evacuations can be issued by the local authorities. ONLY the governor of Nevada can issue Mandatory evacuations in certain circumstances.


Precautionary Evacuation Warning (yellow)

Alerts people in an affected area (s) of potential threat to life and property. People who need additional time should consider evacuating at this time. An Evacuation Warning considers the probability that an area will be affected and prepares people for a potential evacuation.  Residents should prepare personal belongings including pets and livestock for evacuation. Advance measures should be taken to prevent harm to individuals with mobility issues or other types of access and functional needs. Due to the nature of fire or emergency activity ample  time to issue a precautionary warning may not always be available.

Evacuation (voluntary) (Red)

A Voluntary request for immediate movement of people out of an affected area due to an imminent threat to life. Choosing to stay could result in loss of life. Staying may also impede the work of emergency personnel. Due to the changing nature of the emergency, this evacuation notice/order may be the only warning that people in the affected area (s) receive.

Shelter in Place ( purple)

Conditions exist that may ENDANGER the lives of those in a defined area.  Access to the area under a shelter in place order may or may not be restricted by a soft or hard closure. Residents should select an interior room or rooms within their home or business with no or few windows, and taking refuge there.

Repopulation (Green)

When an evacuated area is now safe for the public to re-enter. Local authorities will usually provide information and precautionary information to those reentering an area that was restricted due to flood, fire or another incident.


Have you registered your cell phone as part of the Reverse 911 system in Douglas County? Register today, by clicking here  

In times of emergency, those in danger will receive emergency notifications through the WEA (Wireless Emergency Alerts) without subscribing, but it’s always best to subscribe to all alerts.

A WEA (Wireless Emergency Alert) will be sent to phones in specific geographical areas informing you to leave your house, and shelter information.


Douglas County will have a red alert bar at the top of their website homepage.  This alert bar will lead you to a webpage set up to find evacuations, road closures and shelter information.  Depending on the managing jurisdiction of the fire there could also be links to maps and various other resources.

Be sure to also follow Douglas County and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office on Twitter, Facebook and Nextdoor. @CountyofDouglas @DouglasSheriff We post relevant information on social media and do our best to get misinformation corrected immediately.


1. Officials will determine the areas to be evacuated and the routes to use depending upon the fire’s location, behavior, winds, terrain, etc.

2. Law enforcement agencies are typically responsible for notifying the public of an evacuation order. Follow their directions promptly.  The Sheriff’s Office will notify residents of any evacuation notice.   The Sheriff’s Office will make every attempt to contact every residence in the affected area.  

3. You will be advised of potential evacuations as early as possible. You must take the initiative to stay informed and aware. Listen to your radio/TV/ Cell Phone Alerts for announcements from law enforcement and emergency personnel.

4. You may be directed to temporary assembly areas to await transfer to a safe location.

5. Douglas County has several designated shelters, the most common location is the Douglas County Community and Senior Center which is pet friendly.  However, in the event that this location is in the line of fire, or has been compromised, residents should pay attention to other designated shelter locations on the Douglas County website.


  • Critical medications.
  • Important personal papers, photos.
  • Essential valuables.
  • Pet and livestock transport, limited amount of pet food.
  • Change of clothing, toiletries.
  • Cell phone.
  • Critical papers and effects in a fire-proof safe.
  • An Evacuation Route Map with at least two routes.*
  • Drive your planned route of escape before an actual emergency.*
  • During an evacuation, law enforcement/ emergency personnel may determine your route.

For more information on how you can prepare for an emergency visit https://dem.nv.gov/preparedness/