Evacuation orders bogus

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As a resident of North Auburn located about two miles south of the airport, my heart goes out to the hundreds of people whose lives were damaged by the catastrophic fire on Sunday. The following concern is trivial compared with their loss, but nonetheless merits consideration. I was alerted to the existence of the fire by an automated message sent to my home phone by Placer County Sheriff, advising of a voluntary evacuation in the vicinity of the fire. I stepped out on my deck and was startled by the size of the smoke cloud looming to the north. My neighbor told me that she had received an automated message stating that there was a mandatory evacuation of all areas within a seven-mile radius of Bell Road and Highway 49. This astonished me, as, shy of the discovery of a secret government munitions depot on Locksley Lane, I could not imagine how such a large evacuation could be necessary. The message drove me to do exactly what shouldn’t be done under such circumstances: jump in my car and find a vantage point from which to view the fire directly. On the way, a spokesperson for the fire department interviewed on the radio stated that the seven-mile radius evacuation message was incorrect, and that a much smaller area was being evacuated. An hour later, my home phone received the message stating that there was a mandatory seven-mile radius evacuation. This is not an insignificant foul-up; the vocabulary used in the message suggested that it bore the weight of law, and compliance with the order by all of the residents within its scope would have resulted in the streets of the Auburn area being gridlocked by thousands of evacuees. Who was responsible for the issuance of this order, and its continued distribution more than an hour after authorities had discredited it? Some of my neighbors later received an automated message instructing them to disregard the previous message. I did not. Michael Stark, Auburn