Community will personally thank firefighters |

Community will personally thank firefighters

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

Here’s your chance to share a soda with those responsible for towing the line on the Gondola Fire that raged over Kingsbury Grade two weeks ago.

Heavenly Ski Resort will team up with South Lake Tahoe public agencies to put on the communitywide celebration, which is scheduled Wednesday from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the upper parking lot of the California Base Lodge.

“We want to get it out there that we’re very, very grateful,” Heavenly spokeswoman Molly Cuffe said. “The appetite from the community was just so great.”

People are advised to park on the lower lot for the free event off Ski Run Boulevard.

The band, Cool Black Kettle, will entertain, plaques will be handed out and dignitaries will address the crowd.

“Not only is this a celebration of the tremendous professionals who vowed to protect us, this is also a celebration of how quickly this community pulls together in a crisis. It speaks for what kind of community this is,” Mayor Brooke Laine said.

Joining the mayor will be El Dorado County Supervisor Dave Solaro, Douglas County Commissioner Don Miner, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisor Maribeth Gustafson and Vail Resorts President Andy Daly.

Laine acknowledged the individual contributions of Heavenly Director of Planning Andy Strain and President Dennis Harmon, who both “worked well under pressure.” She also praised the resort for providing an on-site firefighting staging area.

Heavenly staff and South Shore firefighting agencies responded within minutes of the first call of the July 3 fire, which came in from a CALSTAR air team at 12:30 p.m.

“The firefighters prevented what could have been a catastrophic loss of homes and lives in the Kingsbury Grade area and beyond. We are, of course, relieved and thankful that Heavenly was spared any significant damage,” Daly said.

The fire resulted in no loss of life or homes.

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