TCSO briefing and tour: When evacuation becomes mandatory

Evacuate or not?

At Friday’s briefing (September 18), Mike Boudreaux addressed the gathering at the SQF Fire Incident Command Center at the Porterville Fairgrounds. The majority of what he had to say sought to define the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office‘s evacuation protocol. TCSO briefing and tour

Since the first mandatory evacuations were issued for South Fork Drive and the Cherokee Oaks neighborhood in Three Rivers on Monday, September 14, many Three Rivers residents thought the evacuation of lower South Fork, and especially Cherokee Oaks, was premature. 

Several Cherokee Oaks residents on the evacuation day (Monday) said they were uncertain what to do. Residents who checked with the TCSO to verify the order were told it absolutely included all of Cherokee Oaks. Some chose to stay behind and not evacuate. TCSO briefing and tour

By 1 p.m. on Sunday, September 20, the mandatory evacuation was downgraded to voluntary after CALFIRE conducted a containment burn along the Grouse Creek fire road, and evacuees who had been away from their homes for a week were able to return. Cherokee Oaks and South Fork residents below the Conley Creek Bridge (two miles up South Fork Drive from Highway 198) were allowed to return home.

What this means is Three Rivers has some work to do to ensure less confusion and more preparedness come the next emergency incident. TCSO briefing and tour

In the accompanying video, Sheriff Boudreaux explains how evacuations are determined in this unprecedented fire season. There are also first looks at several burned out locales along the Highway 190 side of the SQF complex fire. The video was produced and narrated by Teresa Douglas, public information specialist with the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.  

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