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Tuolumne County Answers Washington Fire Questions

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Sonora, CA–Tuolumne County’s Office of Emergency Services has received several questions about the Washington Fire recovery. OES Coordinator Dore Bietz has provided some of the questions and answers below. One of these questions deal with the recent declaration of a state of emergency in regards to the Washington fire, details about that can be found here.

What do the declarations mean, what do they provide, why are they necessary, what do they open the door for ?

If a local government determines effects of an emergency are beyond the capability of local resources to mitigate effectively, the local government must proclaim a local emergency.

Pursuant to California Government Code section 8680.9, a local emergency is a condition of extreme peril to persons or property proclaimed as such by the governing body of the local agency affected by a natural or manmade disaster. The purpose of a local emergency proclamation is to provide extraordinary police powers; immunity for emergency actions; authorize issuance of orders and regulations; activate pre-established emergency provisions; and is a prerequisite to request state or federal assistance. A local emergency proclamation can only be issued by a governing body (city, county, or city and county) or an official designated by local ordinance. The proclamation must be issued within 10 days of the incident and ratified by the governing body within 7 days. Renewal of the resolution should occur every 60 days until terminated.

It should be noted a local emergency proclamation is not required for fire or law mutual aid; direct state assistance, American Red Cross assistance; a Fire Management Assistance Grant (FMAG); or disaster loan programs from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) or U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).

They are necessary and they can provide financial assistance to the local government who proclaims a local emergency.

Do you know if there is anyone with the county keeping track of fire victim fundraisers?

Tuolumne County OES is currently gathering that information and then hopes to have that posted on our Washington Fire website(that website can be found here)

Who with the county is handling the hazmat situation in the area where structures burned ? Which department ? 

Tuolumne County OES is responsible for the coordination of all disasters which includes the coordination of household hazardous waste and debris removal as it relates to a fire. OES and County Community Development Department are working with State and federal agencies on these issues.

Do you know who with the county works with Everbridge to bring the emergency alerts to residents who sign up for them? Who can assess for the county how well the system worked, if it worked as intended, how many alerts went out, how many people received them, how many did not ? Who keeps track of this service and how much does the county pay for it?

Tuolumne County OES works with the Sheriffs office to manage the Emergency Alert notification systems within Tuolumne County. We will have access to the data specific to this event and will be able to determine its effect. Costs associated with this system are paid out of a grant funded through Cal OES.

Do you know who with Cal Fire is investigating the cause of the fire ? Is it Cal Fire Tuolumne County Fire? Or Cal Fire Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit ?

The fire has been managed in Unified Command between Cal Fire and the City of Sonora Fire. They are handling the investigation of the cause and when a final report issued, it will come out from Cal Fire. Tuolumne County Fire has been assisting from day one.

Do you know who with the county works with Everbridge to bring the emergency alerts to residents who sign up for them?

Tuolumne County Office of Emergency Services (OES) is the manager of the system and we work to educate folks to sign up. We have a link on our website here. We have been educating and advocating residents and visitors to sign up. In fact we have a new video that has gone out and will be playing at the local movie theater. Check it out here.

If you want to sign up for the alert system please click here.

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