24 Sep 2008, 12:48pm
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
by admin

Guest View: Fire plays a critical role in Lake Tahoe’s past, present and future

by Terri Marceron, Forest Supervisor for the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit of the U.S. Forest Service, in the Tahoe Daily Tribune, September 23, 2008

By choosing to live in the Lake Tahoe Basin, we have chosen to be a neighbor to fire. Long before we arrived, lightning strikes ignited wildfires that cleared brush and dead trees from the forest floor and kept the remaining trees widely spaced. These fires were frequent and small in size, typically with low flame heights.

Over the past century, as more people have settled around Lake Tahoe, we have aggressively suppressed fires. Forests once described as open and parklike now are dense with fuels. A thick understory of smaller trees, brush and dead vegetation carries fire to the treetops. Once there, the fire can begin a rapid and intense spread through the narrowly spaced crowns. The unintended result of decades of fire suppression has been a higher risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Clearly, we can’t turn back the clock and allow wildfire to fully resume its natural role. We must suppress wildfires that threaten our communities. But using fire on our terms, called prescribed fire, is an important tool for reducing the fuel load in our forests and restoring them to a healthier condition.

Currently, the most common prescribed fire in the Lake Tahoe Basin is pile burning. The piles represent a final step in the first phase of treatments to thin forests, limit the fuel available to a wildfire and reduce the opportunity for fire to spread to the tree crowns.

Many local residents support pile burning. Even when they’re bothered by the smoke, they understand that the inconvenience is temporary, particularly compared with the intensity and duration of smoke from a catastrophic wildfire. Nonetheless, every year, questions arise about why the Forest Service and other agencies pile and burn. … [more] (Be sure to read the comments after Marceron’s essay. They are very good.)

29 Nov 2008, 8:34am
by Tallac

Burn Pile Blamed For Fallen Leaf Fire


It’s a good news/bad news article.

The good news is that this area was hand treated which kept the fire low.

The bad news is Lake Valley Fire District, and Tahoe Conservancy which owns the property, were somewhat negligent in monitoring their burn pile.

To rely on cool and moist weather to check this burn flirts with danger. If the wind was a little stronger, this fire may well have gotten away from quick containment.

I’m not dissing LVFD, but if you want to burn a pile of needles in your yard, they require that you have at least a shovel, garden hose or fire extinguisher nearby and that it be constantly manned and monitored.

It’s the “do as I say, not as I do” policy that has irked some people. Oh well, maybe they will learn something from this experience and it won’t happen again with catastrophic consequences.



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