Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team

TFFT-LogoMission Statement

To protect lives, property, and the environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin from wildfire by implementing prioritized fuels reduction projects and educating the public on becoming a Fire Adapted Community.


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Your local fire professional can help you come up with a plan to prepare your property for wildfire. Request your defensible space inspection here.

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Fire and Fuels

About Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team

The Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team (TFFT) was formed in 2008 to implement the Lake Tahoe Basin Multi-Jurisdictional Fuel Reduction and Wildfire Prevention Strategy. Members are a group of dedicated professionals committed to protecting life, property and the environment at Lake Tahoe through proper management of the forests to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire, thereby protecting communities, while safeguarding the exceptional natural resources of Lake Tahoe.

The TFFT utilizes the Incident Command System to share resources and knowledge, improve project planning, tracking, and reporting and to implement public education and outreach programs.  The TFFT is overseen by a Multi-Agency Coordinating Group which includes the seven Lake Tahoe Basin fire chiefs and eight local agency executives.  Download a list here. 

Partner and Supporting Organizations:

Fire Restrictions and Burn Bans

Below are links to current fire restrictions and burn bans.  This is not a comprehensive list.

 

 

Fire Public Information Team (Fire PIT)

Fire PIT LogoThe TFFT Fire Public Information Team (Fire PIT) is comprised of agency public information/education staff members within the TFFT. The primary role of the TFFT Fire PIT is to provide educational information to the public with regards to fire safety and fire prevention in the wildland urban interface, supported by public relations efforts through coordinated community events.

Press Releases:

Community Programs

Numerous programs that can help you create defensible space are available in each fire service area of the Tahoe Basin.  Everything from free dump day for pine needles and cleared brush to a curbside visit by a chipping machine for downed limbs and trees may be available in your area. Contact your local fire agency for more information. See the fire district map here for contact information.

The most important free help you can get is a defensible space evaluation and a copy of “Fire Adapted Communities – The Next Step in Wildfire Preparedness”.  Download a copy here or pick one up at your closest fire station.  While fire services have an important role, creating defensible space is the responsibility of you and your neighbors.  And working together with neighbors is a great way to reduce the costs as you work towards becoming a fire adapted community.

  • Best Management Practices (BMP) Inspections
    • In California – Contact California Tahoe Resource Conservation District, 530-543-1501 or visit http://www.tahoercd.org
    • In Nevada – Contact Nevada Tahoe Resource Conservation District, 775-586-1610 or visit http://www.ntcd.org
  • Conservation Landscaping
    • In California – Contact California Tahoe Resource Conservation District, 530-543-1501 or visit http://www.tahoercd.org
    • In Nevada – Contact Nevada Tahoe Resource Conservation District, 775-586-1610 or visit http://www.ntcd.org
  • Curbside chipping – Contact your local fire agency
  • Defensible Space Evaluations – Contact your local fire agency
  • Forest Fuel Reduction – Contact your local fire agency or the U. S. Forest Service
  • Managing Vacant Lots – Contact your county or fire agency to determine ownership
  • Stewardship Programs – Contact the U. S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, 530-543-2600 or visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/ltbmu

 

Important Tree Policies and 2015 Contractor List

A lush, healthy forest and a beautiful healthy lake are part of what make Tahoe a special place.  Trees need to be thinned from the forest to keep it healthy, but thinning trees the wrong way can threaten our delicately balanced ecosystem.  Even though you may need a permit to remove certain trees, the environmental and fire protection agencies have made sure the rules don’t stand in the way of creating defensible space and removing hazardous trees. You can also download the most current list of contractors who have attended a presentation of TRPA tree regulations here.

  • In general, 14-inches in diameter is the only number you need to know.
  • Tree diameter is measured 4.5 feet above ground, from the uphill side of the tree.
  • If your home is on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe or in a stream environment zone (SEZ), special rules apply and you should contact a forester at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) for advice.

Occasionally there are updates to the rules and where to get permits.  Please review the chart below for the most current information.

Tree Permit Details

When in doubt, please contact your local fire agency.

Prescribed Fire Information and Announcements

prescribedfire
In some areas of the Lake Tahoe Basin, prescribed fire is used by agencies to reduce wildfire fuels near homes. Prescribed fire is the intentional use of fire to manage vegetation. A prescribed fire project is well-planned, carefully orchestrated and involves the disciplines of fire ecology, fire suppression, forestry and public safety.

The important parts of a prescribed fire project are:

  • Training – Personnel have received extensive training and have been certified in prescribed fire.
  • Preburn Activities – Each winter a multidisciplinary team develops the “Burn Plan” for the upcoming fall burn season. During the summer months work crews start preparing the burn sites by creating firebreaks, clearing around high value trees and thinning dense pockets of brush.
  • Burn Day – The specific date of a proposed fire cannot be determined very far in advance. A “Go/No-go Checklist” is used to decide if a prescribed fire can be safely and effectively conducted. If the necessary conditions are not optimal, the fire will be postponed until conditions “come into prescription.” The illustration presented at left portrays a typical prescribed fire.
  • Tending the Burn – Prescribed fires are managed to minimize smoke production and maximize fuel consumption. Personnel closely monitor the site until the project is completed.

Below are announcements of current or upcoming Prescribed Fires:

FAQ

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.

Defensible Space Financial Assistance Grants

Occasionally, financial assistance to create defensible space is available in select areas within Lake Tahoe fire districts. Funding priority is given to communities and neighborhoods that are organizing and taking action to become fire-adapted. Contact your local fire district to find out how you can get involved and make your community eligible for future grant funding.

Currently active programs are listed below:

  • North Tahoe Bi-State Defensible Space Assistance Promotion
    • Offer: A rebate of 50% for vegetation management costs (up to $1,000 maximum rebate).
    • Eligibility: Offer applies to certain developed parcels within the boundaries of North Lake Tahoe and North Tahoe Fire Protection Districts. View a map of currently eligible areas.
    • How to participate: Download the Bi-State Rebate Application and Compliance 2015 document for instructions, a copy of the application, and terms and conditions.