The Madera County Sheriff’s Office told North Fork-area residents Sunday night to be ready to evacuate amid an increase in water levels at Bass Lake.
Just after 7 p.m., the sheriff’s office issued a pre-evacuation advisory and said residents should have personal effects packed and be ready to evacuate “at a moment’s notice.” Early Monday, the sheriff’s office upgraded the evacuation orders for some North Fork areas.
A cashier at the Gas N Stuff store on Road 222 said it had been raining in North Fork nonstop since about 3 p.m. Sunday.
The woman, who would give only her first name of Jessica, said sheriff’s deputies had arrived at the store around 7:30 p.m. to issue the pre-evacuation notices.
Jessica said she signed evacuation forms where she listed names, phone numbers and addresses of store employees.
The sheriff’s office said it anticipates it may have to raise the pre-evacuation warning to a voluntary evacuation warning later Sunday night.
Jessica said she was told the advisory was issued for most of downtown North Fork. She lives in the area and said she is ready to go if she needs to, with important papers and clothes packed in her car.
“Just ready to hit the road if we have to,” she said, adding she is used to leaving her home in an evacuation due to fires in the area.
Tia Hartsock, a waitress at the Pizza Factory in North Fork, hadn’t yet received the pre-evacuation advisory issued Sunday night, but said employees at the pizza shop were aware of how to evacuate if they had to. Hartsock said her mom sent her a text message warning about driving on bridges amid rising rivers in the area.
At Bass Lake, Charity Bona, a guest services coordinator at The Pines Resort, said the lake level has risen some as the storm has swept through the area. Bona said it had been raining since Saturday morning and she has noticed the lake “definitely come up a little.”
The sheriff’s office said North Fork areas under the pre-evacuation advisory include:
▪ Road 222 between Railroad Grade Road and Road 200
▪ Road 226 between Keller Road and Road 222
▪ Manzanita Lake Drive
▪ Central Camp Road between Road 222 and half of a mile west of Road 274
▪ Road 225 between Road 222 and Road 274
▪ Road 228
▪ Wah-up Way
▪ Kunigib Way
▪ Amber Lane
▪ Weatherly Lane
▪ Willow Creek Drive
▪ Church Street
The sheriff’s office wants residents to evacuate if they think water levels are rising in their area.
Residents who wish to voluntarily evacuate before any notice is given can go to the EV Free Church at 50443 Road 427 in Oakhurst, near Yosemite High School.