The snow is melting, water is flowing, and wildfire fuels are growing. Despite all the moisture, the wildfire threat remains a concern. Preparing your home and community now is more important than ever. June is “Wildfire Awareness Month” in the Lake Tahoe Basin, and members of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team are continuing last year’s campaign by asking all Tahoe residents and visitors to “Think First to Keep Tahoe Fire Safe”.
A good way to start is by attending one of the three family-friendly events that are taking place as part of Wildfire Awareness Month. Representatives from the Tahoe Fire Fuels Team will be on hand at each of the events to visit with people one-on-one, discuss wildfire prevention and answer preparedness questions. Additional activities are taking place throughout the month to not only mark the 10-year anniversary of the tragic Angora Fire, but to also explore the research and management changes resulting from the lessons learned from the fire.
The community events include the following:
- The North Tahoe Fire Protection District will hold their 2nd Annual Fire Safe Bar-B-Que on Saturday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 222 Fairway Drive in Tahoe City. For more information, contact Beth Kenna at 530-583-6911, Ext. 714.
- The South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue will hold their 4th Annual Wildfire Safety Expo on Saturday, June 17 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the TJ Maxx parking lot located at 2015 Lake Tahoe Blvd., also known as the “Y”. For more information, contact Al Martinez at 530-542-6161.
- The Lake Valley Fire Protection District is conducting a Meyers Community Gathering on Sunday, June 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tahoe Paradise Park. The event will mark the 10-year anniversary of the Angora Fire by focusing on the community’s healing and resiliency. For more information about this event, contact Perry Quinn at 530-559-4813. As part of the day’s activities, the Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities has organized a workshop including an Angora fire time series photo display and formal presentation by UNR professor Peter Goin as well as a series of 15-minute talks about a variety of relevant topics such as fire adapted communities, defensible space landscaping, and evacuation planning. For more information about this workshop, contact Marybeth Donahoe at 530-543-1501 ext.114.
The Lake Tahoe Basin Regional Fire Chiefs are encouraging residents to work with their neighbors, local fire district representatives, and community partners including the Tahoe Resource Conservation District and Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities to prepare their homes and community to survive wildfire and work towards becoming and maintaining it as a Fire Adapted Community. They should “Think First” and:
- Create defensible space by removing dead vegetation, leaves and pine needles that are located next to their home, on the roof or in rain gutters.
- Trim low tree branches to a height of at least 10 feet.
- Move firewood stacks to a location at least 30 feet from the home.
- Develop a personal and family evacuation plan.
Visitors to the area are also being asked to “Think First” to prevent starting a wildfire while recreating in the Lake Tahoe Basin’s extensive public lands and national forests. In the basin, more than 90 percent of wildland fires are human-caused and easily preventable. These include tips to:
- Put out campfires before leaving the campsite, and only have campfires in designated fire rings where they are allowed.
- Avoid the use of charcoal when barbequing.
- Use an approved spark arrestor when off-roading.
- Enjoy professional fireworks shows.
For more information about the upcoming events, how to prepare for wildfire, or to locate your local fire district, visit tahoe.livingwithfire.info. To take the pledge to Think First to help prevent wildfires and prepare our communities for wildfire, visit ThinkFirstTahoe.org.