Q – Erosion Control BMPs and Defensible Space are both required, but how and when do I do both?

A – Storm water Best Management Practices (BMPs) and Defensible Space work together and you can save time and money by combining the work. BMPs are required to stabilize bare soil and create infiltration areas where rainwater is diverted before it runs off your property.  Since the 1960s, Lake Tahoe has lost around 30-feet of its famous clarity because too much fine sediment is washed off our properties when it rains.  BMPs for storm water and erosion control are steps required by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) for everyone in the Tahoe Basin.

Q – What do I do about pine needles and other dead material outside of the five-foot non-combustible zone?

A – Rake them in the spring and let them fall through the rest of the year. You must keep all pine needles and flammable vegetation clear within five-feet of your house or other structures.  Outside of this area, clear flammable vegetation to about a 30-feet radius from structures.  Local fire chiefs and erosion-control experts are in complete agreement that you can leave some pine needles or other mulch covering bare soil areas to keep the soil healthy and save it from erosion.  However, don’t let fresh pine needles build up or cover areas larger than 30 feet across.  In between areas of pine needle or wood mulch, maintain a non-combustible space. For more information, visit the Before The Fire section of this website.

Q – I know that fire has been a natural and important part of the Lake Tahoe environment for thousands of years.  What has changed?

A – Fire ecology is concerned with the processes linking the natural incidence of fire in an ecosystem and the ecological effects of this fire.  To learn about the fire ecology of the Lake Tahoe Basin, visit the Fire Ecology section of this website.

Posted in: Fire and Fuels

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