LAKE TAHOE — The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board passed a resolution in support of Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week and thanked the Tahoe Basin Fire Chiefs for their service during a ceremony at its May 26 Governing Board meeting.
“Next month marks the five-year anniversary of the Angora Wildfire,” said El Dorado Supervisor and TRPA Governing Board Chair Norma Santiago. “With the increased risk of wildfire due to current dry conditions, this is an important time to support and encourage participation in Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week as well as to discuss how far we have come since the tragic events of June 2007.”
The Angora fire began on June 24, 2007, as a result of an illegal campfire. It spread four miles in three hours and burned more than 250 homes and structures on 3,100 acres. A Bi-State Fire Commission was formed by then-governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Gibbons to investigate the tragedy. The Fire Commission made 28 TRPA-specific recommendations, including 45 action Items of which TRPA has implemented nearly all.
Chief Mike Brown of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District spoke during the ceremony honoring the Basin’s Fire Chiefs stating, “We would like to thank the Agency for its cooperation and partnership in the areas of fuels reduction, defensible space, public safety and the safety of Tahoe Basin.”
In addition to Brown, other basin fire chiefs present at the TRPA ceremony were Chief John Pang, Meeks Bay Fire Protection District; Chief Ben Sharit, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District; Chief Gareth Harris, Lake Valley Fire Protection District; Chief Gary Gerren, Fallen Leaf Lake Fire Department; and Chief Peter Poe of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. Each fire chief was presented with a plaque by Santiago that read:
“In remembrance of the 5th anniversary of the Angora Wildfire, The Governing Board and Staff of TRPA would like to thank (each District Chief), with gratitude for your entire crew’s courageous dedication to the safety and security of our Lake Tahoe environment and community. We will never forget the Angora Wildfire and the brave men and women who continue to keep us safe. Thank you for your ongoing partnership.”
Also honored were four recently retired basin fire chiefs — Duane Whitelaw, North Tahoe Fire Protection District; Jeff Michael, Lake Valley Fire Protection District; Guy LeFever, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District; and Lorenzo Gigliotti, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department.