Fall Prescribed Fire Program to Begin in Lake Tahoe Basin

The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT), which includes federal, state and local fire and land management agencies in the Lake Tahoe Basin, will begin their fall prescribed fire operations as early as next week, weather permitting.

“Prescribed fire is an essential tool for restoring the forests in our fire-adapted ecosystem here at Lake Tahoe,” said Kit Bailey, fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.  “A healthy forest needs frequent low-intensity fire to remove accumulated smaller fuels and recycle nutrients into the soils to promote healthy vegetation and wildlife habitat and to increase the safety of communities within the wildland urban interface.”

If conditions are favorable, the Forest Service may conduct prescribed fire operations beginning Tuesday, October 11, 2016, around Big Meadow off Highway 89 South (Luther Pass).  To view a map with the project location and details, visit the TFFT website at http://www.tahoefft.org[tahoefft.org].

Each prescribed fire operation follows a prescribed fire burn plan, which considers temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke.  This information is used to decide when and where to burn.  The TFFT will give as much advance notice as possible before burning, but some operations may be conducted on short notice.

Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions.  Agencies coordinate with state and local county air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions closely prior to prescribed fire ignition.  They wait for favorable conditions that will carry smoke up and out of the Basin.  Crews also conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to verify how effectively fuels are consumed and how smoke will travel.

Before prescribed fire operations are conducted, agencies post road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, send email notifications and update the local fire information line at 530-543-2816.  To receive prescribed fire notifications, send an email to [email protected]. Any questions?  Please contact the U.S. Forest Service, Lisa Herron at (530) 543-2815 .

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