Bee Sure to Include Your Bees in Your Evacuation Plans

Eric Mussen, Emeritus Extension Apiculturist University of California, Davis
Reprinted with permission.

It is best to move a hive of honey bees at night, after all the foragers have returned around sunset. On hot nights, they will form a “beard” around the entrance and not all go back in until it is cool in the early morning.

You must make sure that the hive will not pop open during the trip, so beekeepers can use ratchet bands or hive staples to keep things together. If they have experimental design hives, then they’ll have to figure it out.

The bees need to breathe during the trip, so there usually are some screens involved – one a creased piece that is wedged into the entrance, the other a “screen top” that replaces the solid top cover. Be sure the vehicle doesn’t close airtight.

The hives should be placed in the vehicle or trailer such that the internal frames (combs) are aligned front-to-back with the vehicle. If they are sitting perpendicular to the travel of the vehicle, they will rock and smash the bees when starting and stopping vehicular movement.

If they are going to be confined for long, they will need some water to help keep them cool and to provide water for diluting the stored foods.

If they are going to be placed in a new location and allowed to fly, they must be moved five miles or more from the original location. Honey bees learn landmarks in their four-mile foraging radius (50 square miles) around the hive, they and will return to where the hive was, if they see familiar landmarks. They quickly will learn new landmarks for the new location, but they remember the original landmarks when they are brought back home.

How much personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn depends upon the experience of the beekeeper and others who will be around the bees. Done properly, there should be no problems.  Done in haste, bees are likely to be flying around all over the place.
You probably can keep the bees confined for 3-5 days, but bees must poop, so some will start doing so in the hive. It is best to keep this to a minimum.

It is usually best for the bees to be free-flying. They can go for a few days without nectar and pollen and be OK, but they must have access to water. If they cannot find a natural source of water nearby, then the beekeeper must put out a watering device that they can use.

Yes, you repeat the moving process to bring them back to the original location. However, if all the plants are burned down, the bees will starve to death. It takes soil moisture, plant growth and blossoming to be appropriate for bees (honey bees or native bees). So, the colonies probably will have to stay somewhere else for quite a while (have the beekeepers plan right now for where that substitute, good apiary location might be).

Closely monitor the progress of any fire in your area. If you think it might come your way, then move the bees out early.
Plan your secondary apiary location in advance: where it is, who controls the property, is there a locked gate or chain (that is good), is the road accessible in questionable weather, etc. Make the trip there carefree and enjoyable, ahead of the fire.

A fast-moving fire may make it necessary to bottle up the bees during the day. When honey bees get wind of smoke from an approaching fire, they do head back home.  But, they will be flying all around the hive and no one will be able to get them all corralled and into the hive.  You can take away quite a few bees, but someone is going to get stung, numerous times.

Please call 530 598-3408for more information about Juniper Flat Fire Safe Council and evacuation planning for people who have animals.

Email from Cal Fire Battalion Chief Tim DeVos

I am reaching out to the Juniper Flat Fire Safe Council, The Greater Lake Shastina Fire Safe Council, and The Hammond Ranch Fire Safe Council with a request for information sharing in each of your respective areas of influence. Siskiyou County is off to a remarkably busy fire season. Since June 1 we have responded to 120 vegetation fires, this has me very concerned.We have had some significant wildland fires already in the county requiring assistance from resources, personnel and equipment from all across the state. Additionally, there are many fires burning across the state, which has caused us to commit a significant amount of personnel and equipment.
We are reaching a point of resource drawdown, meaning we are being challenged with available resources for new fire starts. The fuels have cured and the weather has been in Red Flag Warning status for the last few consecutive days. The grass crop this year is abundant and is causing our fires to grow big and fast. I am requesting that each of you pass the message along we need everyone’s cooperation to reduce the threat of any new fires. This would include to make sure nobody is mowing their lawn after 10:00 am, making sure that nobody burns debris piles illegally and just the overall awareness of the current fire situation. Thank you for your assistance in this critical matter.
Tim DeVos
Battalion Chief ~ B2613
Siskiyou Unit


It’s a Dog’s World!

Shasta Vista is a dog’s paradise. There is lots of room to run around, and interesting sights and smells everywhere. Most of us have dogs here, and if we don’t, our neighbors surely do. Animal Control estimates that there are two dogs per person in Siskiyou County. That is a lot of dogs! We all need to understand what our rights and responsibilities are, whether we are dog owners, their neighbors, or both.

Siskiyou County requires all dog owners, or others who are caring for or have custody of one or more dogs, to license them. They will require proof of a current rabies vaccination for each dog. Your veterinarian may recommend other vaccinations, but only the rabies is required. The veterinarian who administers the rabies vaccination will give you a certificate and a tag. The certificate will be presented to Animal Control when you register your dog and pay the $10 annual license fee. The tag must always be attached to the dog’s collar or harness. It is a good idea to make sure people can find you if your dog becomes lost or injured. A tag or collar with the dog’s name and your phone number will do the trick. I like the information on the collar, because the lettering can be much larger, so it will be easier to read, and can be read from several feet away.

We are required by law to keep our dogs always on our properties, or under our control.
We cannot allow them to run loose, or to enter someone else’s property.

Dogs running loose, especially in packs, may be uncharacteristically aggressive to people, pets, or livestock. Siskiyou County code allows us to “kill any dog that is found in the act of killing, wounding, persistently pursuing or worrying livestock or poultry on someone else’s land. Any dog entering any enclosed or unenclosed property upon which livestock or poultry are confined may be seized or killed by the owner of the property, or by any employee of the owner or tenant”. A person may kill a dog if he can prove that “the dog was recently engaged in killing or wounding livestock or poultry on land that is not owned or possessed by the dog’s owner”. We cannot kill a dog simply for being on our property. A dog’s owner could bring legal action if his dog was shot without legal basis.

County code further states that “The court…may order the dog’s owner to compensate the owner of the farm for the cost of the damage done by the dog.” That could run into big bucks on nearby sheep and cattle ranches.

Your dog’s safety is at risk if he runs free. There are many blind hills and curves on our roads, and people often drive at unsafe speeds. Dogs may be bitten by rattlesnakes, attacked by other dogs or wildlife. Coyotes kill and eat dogs, and mountain lions are known to hunt in the subdivision.

Our community has seen a dramatic increase in human and dog population in the past few years. Some of us are still adjusting to the change. We can ease our growing pains a bit by being considerate of one another. Please keep your dog always on your property or under control. If a neighbor’s dog is trespassing on your property or otherwise causing concern, please talk to your neighbor about it.

Questions? Call Siskiyou County Animal Control 530-841-4025. Ask them to send you their brochure titled, “Livestock & Dogs Don’t Mix!!”

© Marjorie King All Rights Reserved

A Message from Mt. Shasta Vista Fire Company Auxiliary

Mt. Shasta Vista Fire Company Auxiliary wishes to thank MSVPOA for the opportunity to sell box lunches at the annual membership meeting. We sold out of the lunches and made some money, which we use to help the fire company.  We also thank the POA members for their support and contributions to the Fire Company.

We also wish to remind people that your California Refund Value (CRV) recyclables can help us, too. We accept plastic and glass CRV bottles and CRV aluminum cans. They should be clean, dry and separated. Bottles should have lids removed. You can turn them in at Yreka Transfer Recycling at 230 Ranch Lane in Yreka. Ask that your refund money be donated to the Mt. Shasta Vista Fire Company Auxiliary. If you prefer, we can pick them up from your place by calling 530 598 5455. Please leave a message, we will call you back. Thank you.

A Tale of Two Wildfires

A Tale of Two Wildfires
Marjorie King

On Feb. 26, 2006, a wall of fire driven by 55 mile per hour winds was bearing down on the Mt. Shasta Vista subdivision. Then-Deputy Sheriff Ron Quigley was one of several brave souls who put themselves in danger to warn residents. Navigating 65 miles of narrow roadways that snake through the heavily fueled and sparsely populated community, they went door to door urging evacuation. Panicked residents were soon fleeing, passing incoming fire trucks at speeds much greater than the posted 15 mph limit. They were escaping the Hotlum Fire. When the smoke cleared, 3019 acres were blackened. Four structures, including one home, were gone. There were no injuries or fatalities.

Fast-forward to Sept. 15, 2014. Quigley was now Deputy Director of Siskiyou County Office of Emergency Services (OES). Thousands of Siskiyou County residents were threatened by a fast-moving firestorm  the Boles Fire.  Siskiyou County officials logged into their CodeRed account, designated a target area on an online map, and crafted a message. They hit “send” and alerts were sent. People in Weed and surrounding communities received the ominous news. Homes, schools and businesses were evacuated with remarkable expediency. When the blaze had passed, 561 acres were charred, 157 residences and eight commercial buildings were destroyed, but no human lives were lost.

Quigley explained the state-of-the-art system at a recent meeting of the Juniper Flat Fire Safe Council. CodeRed is a worldwide emergency communications network available to government agencies, businesses and institutions that may need to notify many people quickly. Siskiyou County officials, after researching a number of other emergency notification options, began using the system in 2013. Since then, the system has been activated to warn locals of numerous fires and criminal activities.

According to Siskiyou County’s website: “This service can be used in case of fires, chemical spills, evacuations, lockdowns, downed power lines, lost individuals, natural disasters, abductions, water system problems, bomb threats, or other emergencies. Calls can be geographically targeted for localized messaging. If widespread, the entire community could be called within 20 to 30 minutes. The system also reports who did not get a call, so that they may be contacted by other means.”

The system automatically dials publically available phone numbers within a target area, but cannot access unlisted phone numbers, cell phone or VoIP (voice over IP) numbers, so it is especially important for those who rely on such numbers to register.

Registration is confidential, free, and easy. You may enter as many phone numbers and email addresses as you wish. Landline telephones will receive recorded voice messages. Cell phones and email addresses will receive text messages. Quigley recommends entering home, business and cell phones and email addresses for all family members.

If your cell phone number has a local – 530 – area code, sign up on Siskiyou County’s web site at You will receive all notices sent out via the Siskiyou County system regardless of where you are. If you have a different area code, you can download a mobile app that will allow you to receive alerts in any area where CodeRed is active, including Siskiyou County.

The system has telecommunications device/text telephone for the deaf (TDD/TTY) capability. Messages are sent out only in English. If you are bilingual and have friends, neighbors or relatives who do not speak English, you can relay information to them.

If you wish to sign up but do not have Internet access, you may call Lynn Corliss, PHN, Emergency Response Coordinator, Siskiyou County Public Health, at (530) 841-2130.

OES Deputy Director Ron Quigley is available to make presentations to your fire safe council, civic organization or other group. Contact him at (530) 841-2155 or

Juniper Flat Fire Safe Council meets on the second Monday of each month, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Big Springs Church, 7220 Highway A12. For information, call George Jennings at (530) 598-8887.

Copyright Marjorie King
All Rights Reserved

Surviving wildfire – Part 3 of 3


  1. Locate your pets and keep them nearby. Have pet carriers, pet food and water ready.
  2. Prepare large animals for transport and be ready to move them to a safe location.

Returning home after a wildfire:

  • Be alert for downed power lines and other hazards.

What to do if you become trapped: In your vehicle:

  • Stay calm
  • Park your vehicle in an area clear of vegetation
  • Close all windows and vents
  • Cover yourself with a wool or cotton blanket or jacket
  • Lie on the vehicle floor
  • Use your cell phone to call 911

While on Foot:

  • Stay calm.
  • Go to an area that is clear of vegetation, a ditch or depression on level ground if possible.
  • Lie face down and cover up your body.
  • Use your cell phone to call 911.

While in your home:

  • Stay calm and keep your family together
  • Call 911 and inform authorities of your location
  • Fill sinks and tubs with cold water
  • Keep doors and windows closed but unlocked
  • Stay inside your house
  • Stay away from outside walls and windows

Getting information during an emergency:


If you have internet access you may be able to get information from your friends via email or social media.

Be ready to evacuate

Evacuation: Evacuate as soon as evacuation is recommended by fire officials to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. Sign up for CodeRed. Listen to scanner or radio, or, as a last resort, plan ahead for friends and neighbors to call one another in case of evacuation order. Be aware that any one avenue of communication (cell phone, radio, scanner, internet access) can fail in an emergency, so it is best to know as many ways to get information as possible. Here is a link to information about CodeRed Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes or boots, cap, dry bandana for face cover, goggles or glasses. 100% cotton clothing is best. If you will evacuate in a travel trailer, be sure that you can hook it up and pull out within ten minutes. If you will evacuate in a passenger vehicle, be prepare to quickly pack essential items such as cell phone, clothing, personal hygiene items, pets, sleeping bags, first aid kits, valuables, portable radio, flashlight, emergency cooking equipment, portable lanterns and batteries, and enough drinking water and food for at least three days. Make a list ahead of time, and be sure you can fit everything into your vehicle.

Know more than one route out of the area. Travel all of the potential exit routes often so you are familiar with them because even frequently traveled roads might appear unfamiliar in heavy smoke.

If you must leave your home or travel trailer behind, take these steps before you evacuate:

  1. Gather flammable items such as patio furniture, toys, door mats, trash cans from outside the home and bring them into the home or put them in a pool.
  2. Turn off propane tanks.
  3. Move propane barbeque appliances away from structures or trailer.
  4. Connect garden hoses to outside water valves or spigots for use by firefighters. Fill buckets with water and place them around the house. Do not leave sprinklers or water running.
  5. Leave interior and exterior lights on so firefighters can see your home in the smoke.
  6. Put emergency supply kit and essential personal belongings into your vehicle.
  7. Back your evacuation vehicle into the driveway with and all doors and windows closed. Carry your car keys with you. If you must leave a vehicle behind, leave it facing toward the road with key in ignition and doors unlocked. Firefighters may need to move it.
  8. Have a ladder available and place it at the corner of your house to give firefighters quick access to your roof.
  9. If there is time, seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
  10. Monitor your property and the fire situation. Do not wait for an evacuation notice. If you feel threatened just leave. Be especially alert when there is lightning and thunder.
  11. Check on neighbors and make sure they are preparing to leave.

Inside the House:

  1. Shut all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked
  2. Remove flammable window shades and curtains. Close metal blinds
  3. Move flammable furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
  4. Shut off gas at the meter, turn off pilot lights
  5. Leave your lights on so firefighters can see your house through the smoke.
  6. Shut off air conditioning.