North Shore fire agency tops in controlled burns | TahoeDailyTribune.com

North Shore fire agency tops in controlled burns

Justin Broglio

INCLINE VILLAGE – As 2005 comes to a close, the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District is celebrating its best control burn season in district history.

“It was a milestone year for us,” said fire chief Norb Szczurek, who oversees the district’s fuels management and fire prevention programs. “We finally completed first entry (initial understory burning) into all the high fire risk areas around the village.”

This year, the fire district’s fuels management and fire prevention teams completed control burn treatment of 114 acres in the basin, more than double the acreage burned in years past.

“Our best year was in 1999, and even then we only did 68 acres,” Szczurek said.

Crews were able to treat a record number of acres this year after last year’s record snowfall and the ideal conditions presented this fall, he said.

“This fall presented a lot of opportunities to burn, and we jumped at the chance whenever conditions were right.”

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Over the last 10 years, the district has been working to create a 700-acre fire protection zone around the village, according to Szczurek, and this year’s record breaking burn season allowed crews to complete that goal.

“This burn season went very well,” said NLTFPD assistant fire chief Mike Brown. “Everything was well orchestrated and this year showed how successful our fuels management program and our entire fire suppression operation can be.”

Szczurek and Brown said that next year the district will target 100 acres as always and begin looking at re-treating and maintaining areas that haven’t been burned since 1995.