News briefs: New interim Tahoe Chamber CEO, new Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District fire chief, and more
TAHOE DOUGLAS FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT HIRES NEW CHIEF
July 1 began a new chapter for the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District when Scott Baker took over the controls as fire chief.
Chief Baker joined the fire district in December after an extensive national search for an assistant chief. Former Fire Chief Ben Sharit retired last month, and the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to promote Baker to fire chief. Baker was previously with the Reno Fire Department where his most recent position was that of division chief of fleet and facilities. His fire service career spans the past two decades from firefighter, operator, captain and battalion chief.
He has served as incident command on numerous large all-risk incidents including the Washoe Fire in 2012.
Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District is an “all risk” Department providing fire prevention, fire suppression, advanced life support, explosive ordinance disposal, forest fuels management, and emergency rescue. The dedicated professionals respond to approximately 2,000 emergency calls annually.
COMMUNITY ADVOCATE NAMED CHAMBER INTERIM CEO
Veteran community advocate Steve Teshara has accepted the position of interim chief executive officer of the Lake Tahoe South Shore Chamber of Commerce.
Teshara is the owner and principal of Sustainable Community Advocates, a consulting firm he launched in the spring of 2010 following 25 years of serving as the chief executive for a variety of community-based organizations on both the north and south shores. His experience includes seven years as CEO of the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association and executive director of the North Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce, headquartered in Tahoe City. Other organizations he has served as chief executive include the Tahoe-Sierra Preservation Council (1986-1991), Lake Tahoe Gaming Alliance (1991-2002), and the Tahoe Douglas Visitors Authority (1997-2002).
A 43-year resident of Tahoe, Teshara established the foundation for his career as a dedicated radio journalist specializing in local and regional news, first at K102-FM in Kings Beach, then at KTHO-AM in South Lake Tahoe. He was one of the original members of Sierra Business Council board of directors and received the Council’s first Vision 2020 Award in 1996. He served on the steering committee for the historic Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum in 1997 and has helped to coordinate local input for every annual Tahoe Summit since then. Teshara continues to provide effective leadership in the collaborative efforts to secure vital federal, state, regional, and local investments in forest health, watershed restoration, transportation, community mobility, and other projects consistent with the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program. He has supported the Chamber as its government affairs liaison since 2010.
As part of his on-going commitment to community service, Teshara is board member of the South Shore Transportation Management Association, Tahoe Transportation District, and California Association of Councils of Governments. He is also a member of the Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Committee and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Advisory Planning Commission.
PREPARE FOR WILDFIRE SEASON BY CREATING DEFENSIBLE SPACE
With summer here and wildfires burning in the Sierra Nevada, people at Lake Tahoe must ensure they are prepared for wildfire by clearing hazardous fuels from their properties and creating defensible space.
“The snow we received this winter has been great, but with elevated levels of tree mortality and entering our fifth year of drought, our fire conditions still remain elevated,” said Chris Anthony, division chief at CAL FIRE. “While our local, state, and federal firefighters are preparing for what is already proving to be a busy fire season, residents and visitors to the Tahoe Basin must also do their part and be ready.”
Be prepared this year: Contact your local fire protection agency for a defensible space consultation so you can prepare your home for fire; know your evacuation routes (do you have two ways out?); prepare your most precious items, pictures, and heirlooms to be packed in short notice; sign up for emergency alerts and know where to obtain accurate, up-to-date emergency information; and talk to your neighbors so they also prepare.
Local fire protection districts and fire departments around the Lake Tahoe Region offer defensible space inspections, curbside chipping, and tree removal permits. They are ready to help people reduce wildfire risk and prepare for wildfire.
The U.S. Forest Service also offers defensible space programs for homes and private property adjacent to National Forest System lands. The Homeowner and Defensible Space and Fuels Reduction Stewardship Programs allow homeowners to work with the Forest Service to extend defensible space onto federal land in order to meet recommended clearance standards. For more information on either program, contact the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Hazardous Fuels Program at 530-543-2759.
When a wildfire ignites, vegetation around homes and buildings can help feed the fire. Appropriately managing that vegetation and creating defensible space increases the chance a home or building will survive the wildfire. Properly managed vegetation also makes it much safer for firefighters to respond to extinguish structure fires.
Lake Tahoe residents are encouraged to work together and with their local fire protection agency to create defensible space throughout entire neighborhoods.
“Fire insurance is becoming increasingly more expensive and difficult to obtain in Lake Tahoe Basin communities,” said Michael Schwartz, fire chief at North Tahoe Fire Protection District. “I urge residents to not only complete their defensible space work, but to encourage their neighbors, HOAs, and communities to engage with their fire agencies and the Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities. Only through making our communities fire adapted can we reduce our risk of catastrophic wildfire and keep our homes insurable.”
The Tahoe Resource Conservation District partners with residents and fire districts of the Lake Tahoe Basin through the Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities. Community volunteers and leaders are needed and should contact Marybeth Donahoe at 530-543-1501, ext. 114, to learn more.
Visit http://www.ThinkFirstTahoe.org to learn more about wildfire prevention and preparedness.