Fall prescribed burns to start in Lake Tahoe Basin
With the fall season bringing conditions more suitable for forest thinning projects, agencies around Lake Tahoe are gearing up for prescribed burns.
Burns could begin as early as this week, the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team announced Wednesday, Oct. 10. The team, which includes local, state and federal agencies, is planning prescribed burns in Angora Highlands, near Heavenly Mountain Resort, in Tahoma near Rubicon Bay and in Burton Creek, D.L. Bliss and Sugar Pine Point state parks, weather permitting.
The fire are intended to help thin overcrowded forests.
“The health and resiliency of Tahoe Basin forests are dependent on the natural process of frequent, low intensity fire, which provides important benefits to forest and meadow habitat,” Tod Flowers, acting LTBMU fuels specialist, said in a press release. “By reintroducing fire onto the landscape, we provide essential habitat for diverse plant and animal species as well as community protection by removing excess vegetation that can feed unwanted wildfires.”
Prescribed fire managers use different methods for the fires, including pile burning and understory burning, according to the fuels team. Pile burning is intended to remove excess fuels and involves burning slash piles that are constructed by hand and mechanical equipment. Understory burning is low intensity fire that takes place on the ground.
Fall and winter bring more conducive conditions for prescribed burns.
“This past summer’s wildfires around California and Nevada reminded us of the importance of removing excess vegetation through forest thinning and prescribed fire operations and that smoke produced during a prescribed fire is much less intense and of much shorter duration than that of an unwanted wildfire,” Flowers said.
Smoke from prescribed fires is generally less intense and shorter in duration that smoke from wildfires, according to the fuels team.
“We are sensitive to the fact that smoke has an impact on the public, especially those with respiratory conditions and allergies and we make every effort to conduct prescribed fire operations during weather patterns that carry smoke out of the Basin,” Flowers said.
More information can be found at http://www.tahoefft.org. To receive prescribed fire notifications, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit maintains a local fire information line at 530-543-2816.
Residential burning on private property in the Tahoe Basin is still suspended.
For information about private land fire restrictions in California, visit http://www.calfire.ca.gov.