Fire stresses need for defensible space | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Fire stresses need for defensible space

Morgan Kriz, Bonanza web editor

When Incline resident Beth Moxley heard word about the Angora fire outbreak Sunday afternoon, without thinking twice, she and more than a dozen friends and coworkers of Rockwood Tree Service closed shop and put their priorities in order to help those in need.

The Angora Fire has tragically burned more than 2,730 acres and has taken homes away from more than 200 homeowners since its start at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Moxley and her crew returned Tuesday morning after putting their defensible space knowledge, planning and experience to what was an unfortunate test of reality for South Shore homes and community structures under the threat of fire. While Moxley and her crew saw flames in the distance, they worked through the heavy smoke and ash while clearing pine needles, trimming tree limbs and lending a hand “wishing we could have done more, but did the best we could before federal aid arrived Monday morning,” Moxley said. “After they arrived, it all seemed under control.

“It is horrible that people’s lives have been turned upside down because what I saw when I was down there, I feel that if defensible space had been more strictly enforced down in that area, a lot more homes could have been saved,” Moxley said.

The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District has cleared more than 3,185 acres in Incline’s surrounding areas since 1995, but Norb Szczurek, the Division Chief in charge of NLTFPD Fuels Management Program, reminds homeowners of their responsibility to complete their own defensible space around their home.

“This is a huge wakeup call to all homeowners,” Moxley said. “Its not a matter of if, it’s when. It’s not that far fetched that it could happen in Incline Village. Although Incline is ahead of the ball game with all of the hard work and dedication they have put into fuels management, property owners who do not treat their own homes are putting their neighbors in danger.

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“I encourage homeowners to get into compliance with defensible space regulations and educate yourself on the forest. Take one weekend, invite the friends over and have a big yard party. Fall in love with the forest again.”

1. Remove all tree limbs within 10 feet of chimneys

2. On mature trees (10″ diameter or larger) trim all limbs up a minimum of 8 feet from the ground (this measurement is taken from the outer hanging branch location), this covers all trees taken up to your property lines.

3. Your address must be visible to the street

4. You must have a spark arrestor on your chimney

5. Remove all dead trees on your property (lots and structures)

6. Remove all miscellaneous dead limbs and dead vegetation (lots and structures).

7. Keep structure free and clear of vegetation and overhanging limbs

8. Eliminate continuous brush fields (lots and structures).

9. Remove pine needles from roof

North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District’s Slide Mountain Hand Crew offers Chipping Services seven days a week, by appointment. To request this service call the hotline at (775) 831-0351, ext. 8118. Leave your name, address, phone number and specify “chipping service.”

This is an opportunity for homeowners to consider what they need to do to create defensible space around the home. Make sure you have all proper precautions accomplished. For more details or to schedule a defensible space evaluation, please call (775) 831-0351, ext. 8118.

Call Arbor Management Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to help those who cannot otherwise afford defensible space, call (775) 833-CARE (2273).

Incline Village General Improvement District’s WasteNot collects pine needles annually free of charge to encourage people to do their defensible space work and keep neighborhoods looking sharp. The Diamond Peak drop-off sites are open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Waste Management transfer station on Sweetwater Road is open for drop-off during the same hours on weekends through Aug. 31.

Those wanting more information can contact resource conservationist Madonna Dunbar at (775) 832-1284 or .

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