One of the original Pony Express stations (Twelve Mile House) was located in Pollock Pines. The area was primarily a lumber community (the town is named for H.R. Pollock, who operated a lumber mill in the area in the early 1900s). The first post office opened in 1936. The name celebrates the Pollock family, who were early settlers.
In 2014 the King Fire burned 97,717 acres (39,545 ha) in the Eldorado National Forest and on private land, destroying 80 structures, including residences and outbuildings near Pollock Pines. The cause of the fire, which was started September 13 and was extinguished October 9, was determined to be arson. The fire threatened thousands of homes as well as reservoirs that provide water and electricity to portions of California. The fire and the post-burn area were extensively studied by NASA’s wildfires program which collected data on pre-burn forest conditions, fuel moisture, fire behavior, burned area and severity, post-fire forest structure, erosion, re-vegetation, and targeted mitigation for the fire science and management communities.