Lake Tahoe Basin Fall Prescribed Fire Program to Begin

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

“The forests in the Lake Tahoe Basin and surrounding areas are dependent on frequent low-intensity fires that removes excess vegetation and helps keep our forests healthy,” said Acting Fire Management Officer, John Washington, with the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.  “Prescribed fire is an important tool used by fire and land managers that mimics these low-intensity, natural fires and helps lessen the chance of devastating wildland fires, which increases the safety of our communities.”

Each prescribed fire operation follows a specialized 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.

Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions.  Prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by wildland fires.

Agencies coordinate closely with local county and state air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions carefully prior to prescribed fire ignitions.  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 materials 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.  The TFFT gives as much advance notice as possible before burning, but some operations may be conducted on short notice due to the small window of opportunity for conducting these operations.

Once prescribed fire operations begin, the TFFT Public Information Team sends out regular notices, which include a map with project locations and details, and can be found at www.tahoefft.org.  To receive prescribed fire notifications, send an email to [email protected].

Keep in mind that residential burning on private property in the Tahoe Basin is still suspended.  For information about private land fire restrictions in California, which are regulated by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE), visit http://www.calfire.ca.gov.  For information about private land fire restrictions in Nevada, which are regulated by North Lake Tahoe and Tahoe Douglas fire protection districts, visit http://www.tahoefire.org/ or http://www.nltfpd.net/.

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