Agricultural producers urged to apply now for emergency access passes

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With the need to prepare for wildfires before winter even ends becoming increasingly critical as megablazes turn into year-round threats – with each new fire season surpassing the last – agricultural producers in Humboldt are encouraged to apply for a restricted area pass now.

Having the pass issued annually is a step allowing “Qualified Agricultural and Cannabis Producers/Growers and/or Commercial Ranchers” to pass through road closures to care for their crops and animals in the event of an evacuation due a wildfire or other emergency, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

A new study published this week in the journal Natural climate change found that the severity of drought conditions plaguing California and the West over the past two decades is the worst in 1,200 years, dating back to at least 800 AD, when Charlemange was crowned Holy Roman Emperor of the ‘Where is. The conditions, the study notes, “will most likely persist until 2022”, with human-caused climate change playing a major role.

Currently, the US Drought Monitor currently shows most of Humboldt County in moderate drought conditions, with the southeast portion in severe drought.

“In recent years, Humboldt County has felt the impact of wildfires, some of which have required evacuations within our most rural communities,” Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said in a recent statement. Press release. “We realize the impact that even a few days away from home can have on a farming business. For the past year, the Restricted Areas Pass program has allowed farm business owners access to closed roads to safely tend to their business while firefighters worked to mitigate the Knob fire.

Click to enlarge

  • Marc McKenna
  • Firefighters work to defend homes near the Knob Fire in 2021.

The wildfire near Willow Creek prompted several days of evacuations and evacuation warnings in late August and early September. A year earlier, residents of Humboldt County woke up on September 9, 2020, to the apocalyptic glow of an eerie orange sky created by heavy haze in the air from surrounding wildfires, including the Hopkins Fire. , which prompted evacuations south of State Route 36 in Bridgeville and all communities along Alderpoint Road to the Mendocino/Trinity county line.

A few weeks later, swathes of southern Humboldt were placed under evacuation warning due to the August complex.

This year’s applications for the Restricted Areas Access Pass with the Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services must be submitted by August 1 and will continue through December 22.

“The access pass is not a guaranteed permit to enter a restricted area, but it is a necessary pre-registration step that allows agricultural producers easier access to their livestock or to their crops in an emergency,” OES Director Ryan Derby said in the statement. “Please do all you can to apply for this program before an emergency occurs.”

Learn more about how the pass program works and how to apply below:

Passes will be administered and approved by the OES, in partnership with the County Commissioner of Agriculture’s Office and the Planning and Building Department.

Once a pass has been issued to them, agricultural producers whose farms are located in an evacuation zone must notify the OES or the Office of the Commissioner of Agriculture of their interest in accessing the property.

Permission to enter restricted areas will be given daily and decided based on conditions. The pass holder will be notified of the approval.


Upon notification, pass holders may access their property through a law enforcement checkpoint during daylight hours. The Restricted Area Access Pass does not authorize the pass holder to remain in their residence and/or business when an evacuation order is issued.


Passes will be valid until December 31, 2022.


Residents of Humboldt County can learn more about the Restricted Area Pass program and apply at humboldtsheriff.org/oes.


All Humboldt County residents are encouraged to prepare now for an emergency by assembling an emergency supply kit and creating a family communication plan.

Residents should also make sure to “know your zone” by checking your designated bug out zone on community.zonehaven.com. If an evacuation occurs in your community, OES will use the name of your evacuation zone when announcing evacuation orders.


To ensure you receive the most up-to-date information and emergency alerts, sign up for Humboldt ALERT, Humboldt County’s emergency alert system.

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