Placer Board of Supervisors ratifies local emergency for winter storms

Published Jan. 4, 2022

The Placer County Board of Supervisors today ratified the county’s proclamation of a local emergency due to the ongoing threat from winter storm conditions. 

Placer’s County Executive Officer Todd Leopold, acting as the director of emergency services, proclaimed a local emergency Dec. 28, which required ratification by the board within seven days. 

California Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency Dec. 30 in several counties across the state, including Placer, to support the ongoing response to the storms.

“In times of emergency like this, we are encouraging people to check in on family, friends and neighbors,” said District 5 Supervisor Cindy Gustafson. "The county is doing everything we can, but we need all of our residents to help inform us on the needs out there. There is always more work to be done, but I am confident that our county is using all resources available to get us through the results of this storm. Placer County is responding to needs that are identified and we will continue to work 24-hours a day until things are back to normal.”

A local emergency proclamation asserts continuing risk to life and property and the response is beyond the capabilities of local resources. Placer’s proclamation requests state and federal assistance, but a federal disaster has not yet been declared that would authorize individual disaster assistance for residents and businesses. 

December was the snowiest on record in the Sierra in 50 years with 214 inches reported by Berkley’s Central Sierra Snow Lab, superseding the old record of 179 inches set in 1950. Heavy snow and downed trees and utilities caused extensive road closures, travel complications and damage to infrastructure, including Placer County Water Agency’s Boardman Canal. Over 10,000 Placer residents lost power and many will experience an extended outage in the foothills and mountains for several more days.  

Placer activated its emergency operations center Dec. 27 to coordinate support requests from public safety agencies and other jurisdictions like cities and water districts. 

Since Dec. 23, Placer road crews have worked 24/7 to plow snow and clear roads of fallen trees and other obstacles. To date, they’ve worked over 4,700 hours and removed 6 million cubic yards of snow. Placer's Office of Emergency Services, in conjunction with the county's facilities and libraries, has since opened two charging centers in Colfax and Forestill, while coordinating with PG&E’s community resource center in Alta. The 211 Placer information and services referral has also operated 24/7 to help residents get connected with the resources they need, supporting over 200 residents through this storm event. 

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office sent deputies to do daily area and welfare checks around the county, which included saving a couple trapped in their home in Cisco Grove and having Search and Rescue clear out a snowed-in apartment complex in Colfax, in addition to various proactive efforts. The Sheriff’s Office also engaged in an extensive search for a missing skier in North Lake Tahoe. PCSO’s dispatch team supported over 1,209 residents through this storm event.

CAL FIRE / Placer County Fire Department crews continue work to clear damage from the recent storm. They deployed 14 engines and five hand crews for these efforts. Clearing has included removing snow and trees at local schools to ensure schools could remain open during the storm event. CAL FIRE also helped the Placer County Water Agency clear trees to access its damaged Boardman Canal to repair it and quickly restore water deliveries. Crews are also shoveling snow to open access points for propane trucks to deliver heating and cooking fuel to residents.