Ideal conditions allow for safe completion of 13-acre prescribed burn

The 13-acre prescribed burn.
Provided / Kaleena Lynde

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – After a historic snowfall, with some snow piles still remaining, officials are urging community members and visitors to stay fire aware moving into the fire season, despite the increased precipitation. 

The Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team and USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit worked hand in hand to clean up fuels between Jicarilla Drive and Golden Bear Trail.

“There has to be very specific conditions that allow us to do an understory burn or prescribed burn,” Kaleena Lynde with the USDA Forest Service, Eldorado Forest Service Office said. 

Toni Stefani Fire Prevention and Ted King Fire Planner overseeing the 13acre prescribed burn.
Ashleigh Goodwin / Tahoe Daily Tribune

According to Lynde, “Goldilocks conditions,” conditions known to be ideal according to forest service staff, were present on Wednesday afternoon during a prescribed burn along Pioneer Trail in South Lake Tahoe.

A team of 28 people, three engines, one fuel crew, and one water tender were on site managing the 13-acre prescribed burn. 

Clean up of the site is expected to be mopped up and completed by the end of shift on Friday, June 30. 

Analyzing the surrounding Lake Tahoe basin, Lynde summarized that the environment is a fire adaptive landscape.

“Thankfully the infrastructure bill helped the USFS out with fuels to make these surrounding forests more resilient to fire,” Lynde said. 

Lynde told the Tribune when the Native Americans managed the lands, they would set fire to certain sections when they left for the winter season, and would return in the spring to new regrowth which aided in future agriculture efforts.

Fire and field team.
Ashleigh Goodwin / Tahoe Daily Tribune

“We’ve realized the faults in the way we had managed the fire, which was to put every fire out immediately and not do any prescribed [burns], and we were very fearful of fire,” Lynde said. “We realized the community actually needs fire for future growth efforts.” 

After analyzing that controlled burns are needed for future forest growth, forest service staff has proactively pivoted to hosting controlled burns early on and throughout the typical fire season. 

“We’re trying to go back to that more natural way of managing the environment, in a controlled environment,” Lynde said. “The thinning and prescribed burning will help mitigate future risks of wildfire.” 

For more information on prescribed burns, fire safety, and wildfires, visit:

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