Fire crews honored for dedication |

Fire crews honored for dedication

A 20-person crew that fights fires and cuts out fire hazardous wood at Lake Tahoe Basin was honored Tuesday with an award for its solid work.

“Not everyone understands your contribution,” said Maribeth Gustafson, forest supervisor at Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, who surprised the crew with the award at lunch. “We’re so proud to have a crew of your caliber at the basin. You are the ones out there doing it.”

This fire season, the crew fought 24 fires at the basin, including two major ones, the Gondola and Showers fires. Outside the basin, they worked seven fires, including a 14-day stint fighting the Biscuit fire, a massive blaze at the border of California and Oregon.

Crew 19, which formed two years ago, works from May to November fighting fires, clearing wood and then, come fall, burning some of the piles it makes.

“It was the biggest fire season in the basin and we were the first crews on both of the largest fires,” said Capt. Steve Burns, who helped to form the crew two years ago.

“Without local resources, they could have been quite a bit larger.”

As part of its Environmental Improvement Program award, crew members received an engraved Leatherman knife, a certificate, 10 hours of paid vacation time, and a framed photograph of Lake Tahoe to be shared by the group.

“It’s been a great summer,” said Aimee Lorinez, 28, of South Lake Tahoe. “It’s hard work, but I would love to stay on the crew.”

Lorinez, her shoulder covered with sawdust, said she would probably go camping with the 10 hours she was awarded.

About 80 percent of the crew work part time for the U.S. Forest Service. Winter income is typically earned at a ski resort.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User