TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Truckee Ranger District will begin spring prescribed burning in the region as weather permits, officials announced Wednesday.
“We are planning to initiate these prescribed burns to reduce the threat of wildfires especially adjacent to urban development,” said Linda Ferguson, District Fuels Management Officer, in a statement. “By burning the forest vegetation and debris in the fall or spring, we can have many of the ecosystem benefits of fire while lessening the intensity of future wildfires.”
The term “prescribed fire” comes from the very stringent prescriptions that have to be met before a burn can be initiated, Ferguson said. Weather is the most critical factor in determining when a prescribed burn can begin. Current and predicted temperature, humidity, fuel moisture and wind conditions are monitored for the right burning conditions. In addition, wildlife needs, soil conditions, tree survival, sensitive plants and fire suppression activities are considered.
Besides some remote areas of the forest, pile burning also planned along Alder Creek Road, at Tahoe Timber Trails and along Highway 89 North. Underburning is planned near Klondike Flats, on Sawtooth Ridge and near Stampede and Boca Reservoirs. Smoke may be visible in these areas.
Forest Service fuels management personnel work closely with the California Air Resources Board and the local air quality management districts to minimize smoke impacts to communities, Ferguson said.
“We strive for smoke distribution patterns that will have the least impact on local communities,” she said. “By burning small areas while in prescription, there will be less smoke and for a shorter duration than if the area would burn in an intense wildfire.”
Not all smoke can be avoided, however, as smoke may settle into drainages during the evenings and mornings until daytime heating increases air movement and smoke dispersal, she said.
The district has a pre-burn notification email list.
“We ask that anyone that needs to be notified of a burn due to potential smoke impacts would contact us ahead of time so that we can notify them when a day of burning is beginning,” Ferguson said.
If you wish to be placed on the list, or if you would like more information, contact Ferguson at 530-587-3558.