Angora Fire Letters (Monday-Thursday 1:36 p.m.) |

Angora Fire Letters (Monday-Thursday 1:36 p.m.)

1:36 p.m., Thursday, June 28

As a frequent visitor to the Tahoe area, I am greatly saddened by the destruction caused by the Angora Fire. My prayers go out to the families who lost their homes, and to the firefighters and forest rangers who are still battling this fire.

As with all disasters of major proportion, there will be questions raised about accountability. In the letters to your paper and the interviews on local TV, many residents seem to feel the major culprit is the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and its policies. I don’t really understand how TRPA works, but I sense a commmunity’s fear of an agency that is not rational. A local TV reporter said after he interviewed a small business owner, the person requested that he not use the interview because he feared the TRPA would destroy his business. No government agency should have that kind of power over the citizens. This is the United States of America, not Russia or China.

Cindy Maden

Houston, Texas

1:11 p.m., Thursday, June 28

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I must say thank you to Pet Supermarket and Noahs Wish (disaster relief for the animals) for providing everything imaginable for the animals of this horrific disaster.

Pet Supermarket just handed me items without asking any questions when I told the manager it was for Noahs wish. How can I thank all the people involved who are providing for the affected animals and people of this fire?

With a heartfelt thank you…

Carla Hamill

South Lake Tahoe

12:58 a.m., Thursday, June 28

My son and his wife moved to South Lake Tahoe a few years back and he just loves it there! It is such a shame to hear of this fire so close to homes and he also lives on the same part of the street almost as the high school on Lake Tahoe Boulevard.

The beauty he says is so magnificent all around, but now will end because of the fires, almost like a war zone. But I see how hard those firefighters are working on getting the fires from spreading and I just wanted to say they are heroes to my husband and I seeing them from afar, working in that hot atmosphere! God bless them and may God keep them all safe!

We are also deeply saddened for the people who have no home to go back to, and pray my son will!

Jan and Jim Sr. Tyler

Norwalk, Conn.

12:30 p.m., Thursday, June 28

Our hearts and prayers go out to all our friends at Lake Tahoe during this horrible time. The Angora Fire has brought so much devastation to Tahoe Paradise, our former home, that we do know what you all are going through and will continue to pray for you.

Having taught for 18 years for Lake Tahoe Unified School District while my wife worked for South Tahoe Public Utility District, we know how much you’ve lost. What has not been lost is the spirit of the people. For that I am truly grateful. You will survive and prosper again!

Russell Anderson

Surprise, Ariz.

11:34 a.m., Thursday, June 28

I was both shocked and appalled to hear our state’s governor happily inviting Fourth of July partygoers to come on up and enjoy the festivities, as he stood amongst the rubble of what was once someone’s home.

I believe it is in very bad taste, not to mention poor judgement, to hold

the fireworks show. I realize the need to up the town’s economy, but this is


Right now, we need all of our resources for our displaced residents.

Everyone knows how the shelves clear out at the grocery stores, the traffic is a nightmare, and people book hotel rooms for Fourth of July weekend.

What will happen to the displaced families if a tourist needs a room? What about supplies at the local evacuation centers, not to mention the outlandish traffic and looky-loos who will only make it worse for the

people fighting the fire, and the people trying to go back to their homes. What would we do if there were more evacuations, and the city was packed to the gills with tourists? I shudder to think.

So far, our city has handled this fire in a timely, responsible manner. However, when is the last time anyone has heard a government official INVITE people to a federal disaster area? Especially when the disaster isn’t over yet?

Heidi Boune’

Mom, grandma and loyal Tahoe resident

South Lake Tahoe

11:32 a.m., Thursday, June 28

To our dear friends and residents at the lake who have lost their mountain homes do to this devastating forest fire: We are very deeply thinking of all of you and only wish you all to be safe, warm and have close family and friends by your sides in such a distressing time of your lives. We sincerely hope the memories that fell victim to the flames will remain in your hearts and souls to once again rebuild your lives and dreams at one of the last great gems of the world, Lake Tahoe.

We are standing up for Mr. Glass and all others who had been horribly taken of advantage of in this devastating time by the South Tahoe Public Utility District: This facility should be absolutely ashamed of itself!

How can you even logically conceive the practice of continuing to charge these poor souls, who now have nothing staring in disbelief at an empty lot?

What are you thinking?

All the best to our friends and the victims, and a very speedy recovery be with all of you!

Jon and Susan Allasia

38-year Lake Tahoe residents

La Costa, Calif.

10:16 a.m., Thursday, June 28

I lived all but five years of my life in South Lake Tahoe. I went from Under the Magic Pinetree pre-school all the way up to graduation day from South Tahoe High School in 2005. Even though I have moved away from the beautiful town to the city in the desert, I am still dedicated to Tahoe. It is my true home.

I miss everyone I knew there, and I miss the beautiful splendor of the lake. This fire has come as a shock to me; not that I thought it could not happen, but because I thought it never would.

It was almost like Lake Tahoe had an immunity to forest fires of this magnitude, in my eyes. My heart and prayers go out to everyone who suffered a loss, and to the firefighters who are risking their lives constantly to put the blaze out.

I am planning on returning to South Lake Tahoe as soon as it is safe to do so and the fire is out, to help the community in any and every way I can. Tahoe provided me with the best environment to grow up in and call home, that is the least I can do. I wish the most luck to everyone living in the wonderful community, and to everyone combating the fire. God bless you all, and thank you for everything. Lake Tahoe will always be my home and in my heart.

Jennifer Biller

Henderson, Nev.

9:19 a.m., Thursday, June 28

Over the last three years, I have worked to establish a Fire Safe Chapter in Round Hill. Many residents have volunteered their time to help organize, talk to neighbors, mark properties for fuel reduction, and manage paperwork. We have been fortunate to receive grant funding to assist with these fuel reduction efforts. We have been trained and supported by the Nevada Fire Safe Council, and have worked closely with the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District.

In May, with the help of the Skyland Fire Safe Chapter, we conducted an education event for the entire Nevada side of the South Shore. We were supported by the U.S. Forest Service, the Nevada Tahoe Conservation District, the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and the Nevada Fire Safe Council.

Our process for removing fuels in the neighborhood includes: Asking the property owners to join the chapter, helping them mark their property according to the Living With Fire Guidelines, scheduling fire crews to remove and chip brush and limbs, arranging for a defensible space evaluation, arranging to have trees marked by a forester, scheduling tree removal, and having the defensible space evaluation signed off.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency has been very supportive of our efforts. They have endorsed the Fire Department Forester, and have authorized the marking of trees and permitting of tree removal for defensible space purposes. Limbs are removed within 10 feet of structures and chimneys. Dead trees are removed. Trees that are too dense are thinned, and trees that create too much continuity of crowns which would allow fire to travel through the crown are removed. Consideration is given to erosion control and forest health, and when the forester is in doubt of TRPA regulations, he refers the resident to TRPA. There has been very little interference by TRPA with our efforts to create defensible space. In fact, TRPA has done far more to support our efforts than interfere.

I think that recent comments in the news criticizing TRPA for preventing tree removal for defensible space are not based in fact. There have been numerous news items covering TRPA fines for removing limbs to improve views, but I have never heard of property owners being fined for removing limbs or trees when they were following the Living With Fire Guidelines and having trees marked and permitted by the Fire Department Forester. I would encourage property owners to work together to establish and support fire safe chapters, apply for fuel-reduction grants, and work with their local fire department to create defensible space. This is far more effective than criticizing TRPA.

Glen Smith

Chairman, Round Hill Fire Safe Chapter

Stateline, Nev.

9:17 a.m., Thursday, June 28

First of all, I would like to say how very sorry to all of our friends and family who have lost their “lives” to this terrible fire; it will be years before the emotional scars have healed completely from this fire. Second, we all are very thankful to the firefighters who worked extremely hard to keep the fire from totally destroying our town.

Now comes my main queston: Why does this city not own our own helicopter and bucket? I am not a professionally trained tactical firefighter, but If we would have had the right equipment there is the possibility that this fire could have been slowed down by air attack from South Tahoe’s chopper and bucket, which possibly would have given the ground crews more time to attack it.

Can we not get grants from the federal and state levels, financial support from the casinos, Marriott’s, Embassy Suites and so on? I watched the fire in May on lower Kingsbury and noticed that it was not an easy-access area to fight this fire, I talked to one of the firefighters about air assistance and he said that it had to come from Nevada.The droughts are uncontrollable, but saving this beautiful place where we all live is!

Duane Anderson

South Lake Tahoe

9:15 a.m., Thursday, June 28

We have been warned about the potential of fire in the Tahoe Basin now for years. The message is not if it comes, but when it comes, do what you can to defend your property, reduce fuels, coordinate how you fight the fire and provide support to those impacted. There are many dedicated agencies and organizations that have come together to work on this problem, including the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

Now a major fire has occurred in one of the worst areas, Tahoe Paradise between Meyers and the Wye, on Forest Service lands and in residential areas. It is a timbered area and conditions were such Sunday that a fire could be, and did, become a disaster. We are all thankful that there are no reports of major injuries and our thoughts and prayers are for those impacted by this disaster. In addition, all those associated with fighting the fire, providing emergency support and lending a helping hand deserve a huge well done and thank you.

In regard to allegations that TRPA hinders the reduction of fire threat, our district has observed that TRPA is a big supporter across the board of such programs. In meetings hosted by TRPA regarding fuel reduction, it has been the theme that fuel reduction supports more than the obvious regarding fire impact, there is also reduced erosion-control issues after a fire, less health problems during a fire, reduced rehabilitation time, reduced costs both during and after the fire, just to mention the obvious.

Starting now and commencing soon after the end of this fire, many agencies will be getting together to mitigate the impacts, from rebuilding, to re-vegetating, to erosion control, to planning for the future. I know TRPA will be part of this process and they will be helping, not hindering as we move forward.

Doug Martin, District Manager

Nevada Tahoe Conservation District

Stateline, Nev.

9 a.m., Thursday, June 28

I have a cabin in the Tahoe Paradise area and could perhaps rent it to a displaced fire victim. It’s small and would not accommodate a large family and no pets (ideally, one person or a couple). I’ve found information on donating food, clothing, money, etc., but is there a resource for alternative housing opportunities for the fire victims, matching needs and available homes?

Cindi Lambert

San Diego, Calif.

7:39 a.m., Thursday, June 28

Our family would like to thank all the men and women who are working on putting out the Angora fire. We are so grateful for all they have done to protect our town, and have put their safety and lives on the line for us.

Our hearts go out to all our friends and neighbors who lost their homes. We will all get through this together as a community. We should start thinking about some type of “Thank You” gathering or celebration that we as a town can give these heroes once the fire is 100 percent contained.

Cathy Navarrete

South Lake Tahoe

7:24 a.m., Thursday, June 28

I would like to take the time to thank all the firefighters, the sheriff’s department, Highway Patrol, South Lake Tahoe Police Department and Air Support for all their tireless efforts and dedication to our beautiful community. The wonderful job they are doing is on everyone’s mind and in our hearts.

We appreciate you more than you know. Thank you again!

Lorraine Anderson

South Lake Tahoe

3:27 a.m., Thursday, June 28

It is refreshing to not read anything about aid being promised and not delivered, such as was the case with the hurricanes down south. When people here were told to get out now, you paid attention, packed what you could and left. You were smart enough to realize there was nothing you could do. Unlike the people down on the Gulf Coast, who thought, “If I stay, my house will be all right.”

Todd Ramey

Gardnerville, Nev.

12:49 a.m., Thursday, June 28

As 35-year residents of Lake Tahoe (we moved three years ago), we are so terribly shocked and sorry about the loss the Tahoe community has suffered. Our prayers are with all of you during this horrendous time.

Bless all of you and bless the firefighters ” you are Tahoe’s heroes!

Joan and (daughter) Michelle Avila

Rancho Mirage, Calif.

11:56 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

It has been very hard to watch the news of your fire; our hearts go out to you. We lost our homes in the Oct. 25, 2003, Old Fire in San Bernardino. A total of 500 homes were destroyed. We completely understand the shock, grief and the unbelievable distress in trying to put back your lives. Luckily, a nonprofit volunteer group of former fire and earthquake survivors helped us in our recovery.

This group is Community Assisting Recovery ” CARe Inc., Another helpful nonprofit organization that helped fund our recovery group is We formed the Old Fire Recovery Group and now have turned it into the Disaster Survivor Network to help others: All advice you receive should be free. Here are some tips we have learned from our experiences and others.

Get help, but don’t rush the recovery process. You’ll be in a daze to even think clearly or make decisions for at least a few weeks or longer.

l. There is power in numbers. Join with other survivors in your area to share recovery information. The community needs to set up one central place where a fire victim can get all the information and paperwork they will need. One place where all the different organizations ” city, county, state, federal government officials, Red Cross info, relief, etc. ” is available.

2. Get organized. Get a big notebook and start writing everything down.

3. Meet regularly and form a local recovery group. Hopefully someone in your local community can organize this. Ask professionals to come to your meetings to get your questions answered. Our group can find professionals and volunteers to help. CARe Inc. was our lifeline to recovery. Community partners will help you get started.

4. Become educated about the insurance process. The best help we received is from The amount your company offers you can be negotiated. When talking to your insurance agent, never do a recorded statement. Ask for all questions in writing. Ask for a copy of your whole policy. If they offer you money, take it, but never sign off on a release form. Sign all checks partial payment only on the back. Keep a log of all their correspondence, written or verbal.

5. Don’t be in a rush to have the rubble removed. You need pictures and samples of the type of building materials used in your old home to get the correct replacement costs. Concentrate on what the old house had, to get your proper insurance settlement. This is going to take time. The CARe Web site will show you how to file an insurance claim.

6. Don’t have your insurance company hold on to your money or pay the contractor directly. You should be earning interest on your money. Some contractors will cut corners when directly working with the insurance company. Keep these issues separate. The state Department of Insurance has a consumer hotline (800-927-4357). Their Web site is It has a guide called “Don’t get Burned After a Disaster,” another help in filling claims. These booklets should be passed out at your local government recovery center.

7. Beware of Public Insurance Adjusters. They charge a fee to help you go over your claim. They cost money. Your own insurance company does this for free. You will receive a lot of mail or people will stop by your burned ruins who say they will help for a fee. All advice from anybody should be free.

8. Trust, but verify. Just because a contractor says he’s licensed, don’t take his word. Look up his license/complaints on the state contractor’s licensing board Web site: They have a booklet to tell you how to hire a contractor. From our experience, beware of fire restoration contractors. Most are not experienced in building a house from scratch, only in redoing a partial loss. Get a contractor who builds houses from scratch and check out his previous work.

9. Know your limits. Don’t start a construction project till you know exactly how much money you will have in your budget. Make sure you have a fixed price and completion date on the contract. Don’t give more than 10 percent down, or $1,000, whichever is more to a contractor. This is state law.

10. It would be extremely helpful if the newspaper, on the front page could list all pertinent daily information, to help the fire victims. This could be a small, red boxed area. For example, a list of where all local relief places will be, shelters, any meetings, places and times. Also a billboard can be put up near the fire area to announce where this place will be. This needs to be in place for at least a year.

This is a grieving process, but moment by moment, day by day, you will survive.

Amelia Herrmann

The Herrmann, Hayes and Crandall families

Disaster Survivor Network

Yucaipa, Calif.

11:45 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

Who do we blame? The person who lit the fire?

Or, why not blame the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency?

That’s right, TRPA must be the cause of this fire. Yes, and we’ll all boo and point fingers at the town meetings to make ourselves feel better. Doesn’t that feel great?

Let’s face it, this fire was destined to happen. We built a city right in the middle of a natural forrest. We’ve been supressing fire around our neighborhoods for many years. Fires are a natural event.

I actually made a “fire evacuation list” just two days before the fire. I knew it was going to happen. So, let’s stop whining and finger-pointing and get to work. We have alot of unfortunate neighbors who lost homes and need our help.

We need to join forces and work together to get them back in new homes as soon as possible. Let’s show the whole world how we pulled together in a unique way to resolve a miserable disaster.

We can do this by offering constructive recommendations to our local government in meetings.

We can pull together as business owners to assist these people in rebuilding their homes.

We can ask local government to steamline and expedite the plan check/permit process.

We can!

John Adamski

South Lake Tahoe

11:26 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

Thank you for your coverage online. I live in the Bay Area now, but Tahoe will always be my home. The biggest thing to happen in Tahoe in my lifetime was the bomb inside Harveys. My grandfather and one-time Mayor Norm C. Woods would be devastated to see this. Our entire family is devastated by this as well.

Thank you and God bless

Leslie Hill-Melodia

Santa Rosa, Calif.

11:22 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

As a person who has lost everything in the Angora fire, I thought it was important to let anyone who might be in the same position know what kind of “customer service” Dish Network is not offering the victims of this fire. I called to cancel my Dish Network account since I no longer have a TV, a satellite or a house, and they informed me that I owe $300 for a leased receiver that I have had in my home for at least 3.5 years.

They were very unhelpful, and basically just kept telling me that my insurance would cover it, so what was I worried about. What am I worried about? Well, let’s see, somehow I think my priorities are more along the lines of getting my family clothes and shoes, and the necessary things we need to survive. So, having to spend an extra $300 for a receiver that burned down in my house … somehow that doesn’t fit into my priorities. I think the worst part is that the equipment I had was so outdated now anyway, you know they would never put it in anyone’s house now, so why try to capitilize on someone’s pain and suffering.

Anyone who is thinking of joining Dish Network should keep this in mind as well. Outstanding customer service? I think not!

Jennifer Feliciano

South Lake Tahoe

7:42 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

I wanted to write to express my overwhelming concern for my hometown Tahoans. I grew up in South Tahoe, a proud graduate of the class of ’99. My heart was ripped out of my chest when I turned on the Today Show from my North Idaho home. Panic and confussion stuck me, and disblief set in. We all knew it could happen, but avoided the reality.

I immediately called my father to see what was going on. “The fire is out of control,” he said. This comment didn’t ease my concern. I wanted to write to show my appreciation to the firefighters from around the state, who have exhibited dedication and courage.

I also want to express how proud I am to have been born and raised in such an amazing town, with a community that bonds together during adversity, and express my heartache. My heart goes out to every family who lost their home; many I have known for years. For all Tahoans around the country, lets keep Tahoe, Tahoe.

Brian Sommerfeldt

Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

5:15 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

A time filled with loss and tragedy

Our love and support goes out to the families

The sadness for these families who’ve lost so much

Sympathy and caring, all are touched

Traveling from all around to assist in every way

Courageous heroes fighting fires all day

Putting their lives on the line

Protecting us all in this devestating time

Bringing with them a hope and belief

With their tools and knowledge for relief

Hoping God will send some rain

To lessen the heartache and pain.

Ryan Cunningham

Coos Bay, Ore.

5:14 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

I want to specifically thank God for answering the prayers of so many in regards to minimizing the high winds that were expected at the lake today. The calmer winds enabled our wonderful firefighters the ability to gain more control over the fire. Our weather is not just in the cards or Mother Nature, but rather a living, caring and powerful God who hears and answers!

Diane Pepka

Carson City, Nev.

5:02 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

I would like to congratulate the Tahoe Daily Tribune for its excellent Web coverage of the recent catastrophe that has hit our town. Their coverage was excellent; I learned more about the fire from your Web site than from the local radio and television.

I have been a lont-time resident of Lake Tahoe, in excess of 25 years, and cannot believe what is finally happening to this town. On Sunday after the fire started, my family and I walked in the forest on Kingsbury to see what was happening due to the smoke. As we walked on Kingsbury, we realized that there were the same hundreds of piles of dead trees stacked with paper on them waiting to be ignited.

We also noticed that our neighbor who was required to cover his spotless dirt yard, was covering iit with dry, shredded tree bark (required by Tahoe Regional Planning Agency per the Best Management Practices). We inquired of several neighbors who still use wood-burning stoves why they did not use the piles of dead wood, and were informed that the TRPA would not let a motorized vehicle up in the woods to get it; you can only use a wheel-barrow.

Now let’s see, the TRPA is in charge of water clarity, yet the lake’s clarity is diminishing, the fire danger is beyond belief and you cannot remove dried wood. And in fact it is OK to leave it in huge 6- to 8-foot piles with paper on it to promote the fire danger, you must place dried, shredded tree bark over dry earth, all in the interests of protecting water quality.

What about the beautiful pictures of the rim of ashes around the lake? I suppose the charcoal is really a good filtration device and is actually improving the water quality as well as the runoff and soil that will be coming with the first rains. When will the people of Lake Tahoe take a stand and do something about the ridiculous rules and regulations of the TRPA? If you want to, please circulate a petition to address these issues and forward them to your congressperson. Maybe we can still save Lake Tahoe.

Paul Palant

Stateline, Nev.

Uploaded at 8:45 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

I grew up South Lake Tahoe, went to Sierra House Elementary, graduated from South Tahoe High, and now live in Kirkwood. I have several friends who have been severely affected by the Angora fire, and my heart goes out to them and everyone else.

I love Tahoe more than I can say, and I cried when the house I grew up in, on Lukins Way, looked like it might burn. This letter is to address an issue that has begun to rear its disgusting head. Some friends of mine were considering moving before the fire began. They were interested in a certain property to rent, and had been in contact with the owner repeatedly, but had not yet signed anything.

They lost their house in the fire, and then they called the landlord of the place they were looking at previously to inquire about signing papers ASAP so they would have a place to live. They were informed that the monthly rent had just gone up from $1,050 a month to $1,350 a month.

Is that to be the trend? People who have been forced into homelessness will now also be gouged by landlords hoping to capitalize on the sudden need for more housing?! I am disgusted. I am sickened. In a time where kindness should reign, greedy landlords have an opportunity to make a few extra bucks from people who have no other options.

Hopefully, if this is printed under the “Fire Letters” segment, these landlords might have the grace to feel some degree of shame for what they are doing, and perhaps it will change the minds of others who were contemplating the same idea. For shame.

Kelly Vaughan

Kirkwood, Calif.

Uploaded at 8:45 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

I am a long-time Tahoe visitor. Many of my fondest childhood memories are from Tahoe. I was married on the South Shore beaches. Whenever I am having a stressful day, I close my eyes and listen in my head to the soft waves lapping on the sand; I can smell the deep pine trees; and I can almost taste the fresh water.

It is heart-wrenching to see the most beautiful place I know be attacked by this ghastly man-made disaster. It is simply devastating to know that human recklessness caused this tragedy.

On the other hand, I am awed by the bravery of the firefighters, and by their commitment to saving this treasure of a place. We all owe them a debt of gratitude.

Thank you to the Tribune for keeping me informed on an hour-by-hour basis.

Anne Le Brun

Boston, Mass.

3:14 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

After seeing forest fires for the last 40 years on the news, it really never bothered me until now!

Being a resident from 1971 to 1989, seeing your old house that you used to live in burn down to the ground, all the great hikes I took in the Angora Ridge area, and taking the back road from Sawmill Road to Fallen Leaf Lake, all of my childhood memories of South Lake Tahoe came back to me clear as a bell.

Maybe growning up in Tahoe, in all of its beauty, put a spell on me that this would not happen ever, but it did and I feel like a part of life has been damaged with this fire.

I know the residents of South Lake Tahoe WILL all pull together like in the past, and get through this difficult time and bring back my hometown that will forever be etched in my mind.

Robert Sulzer

Las Vegas, Nev.

1:55 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

I live in Texas, did most of my growing up there in Meyers, and all I got from CNN was a few pictures and the tickers on the bottom of the screen in my view.

I logged on to this Web site and actually got streets that were affected, including where I grew up on Zuni. I am grateful for your updates. Our prayers go out to everyone affected!

Carmen Seeber Britton

Tomball, Texas

I am working with the South Tahoe Association of Realtors and the local chambers of commerce to compile a list of homes that can be utilized for the displaced evacuees who need a place to live. We are specifically looking for affordable, furnished vacation homes that owners would be willing to lease out to these people for a year or so while they get their homes rebuilt.

If you are willing to allow your property to be used by one of these families in need let me know.

Please provide the following information:


Number of bedrooms;

Number of bathrooms;

Number of garage spaces;

Square footage of the property;

Rental monthly rate; and

Your contact information

I will provide this information to the Association of Realtors to add to their database, which we will provide to the Red Cross and other local support services, thanks.

Larry Sabo

$abo $ells, Inc.

South Lake Tahoe

Day Phone: (800) 987-SABO (7226)


1:28 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

Our daughter Amanda has been a student of Tahoe Montesorri for two years under the wonderful teachings of Steven and Susan Ward.

On Sunday they lost their home, and we are so sorry these two wonderful people have suffered a huge loss. We are thinking about you and care about you both very much. We are so sorry.

The Rogers Family

South Lake Tahoe

1:23 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

Thank you very much for your continuous online coverage of the Angora Fire. We own a home in Tahoe Keys but are not staying there right now. As the fire has crept closer to Tahoe Keys, we have been checking your online coverage every hour or so. Your online coverage has been the quickest and most accurate source of information for us (besides our neighbor).

Knowing what is going on in a timely manner and realizing the magnitude of the community’s response in fighting the fire has been heartening.

We wish everyone at the Tribune and in the community good luck in recovering from this tragedy.

Jan Wiegel

Mill Valley, Calif.

Your community is to be commended for the outpouring of assistance for fire victims. But as a wildland firefighter, I was troubled by your statement that donors are of “equal stature” to the men and women on the firelines. There’s a world of difference between 12 or more hours a day of manual labor in a hot, smoky environment, and the act of writing a check. Both are essential, but not “equal.”

John Walker

Coaldale, Colo.

1:08 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

Please know that our hearts go out to all of our friends we have known since living in South Lake Tahoe from 1984 to 2003. (We moved to Oregon to retire.) It breaks our hearts to see the devasitation that has happened to our beautiful community.

We don’t live there anymore, but we miss you all and pray that the fire is out soon and you can all recover and start again. We love you all. To my wonderful piano students and their families, I say a special prayer for you.

Marti and Bob Magnussen

Winston, Ore.

1:03 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

Thank you so much for providing information so quickly on your Web site. My parents are in the South Lake Tahoe area as volunteers for the U.S. Forest Service. (My parents are Charles and Christine Williamson, who are working at the Pope house near Camp Richardson.)

We here in Minnesota have been watching the progress of the fire and the crews and waiting to hear from our family. We know they were evacuated yesterday after a couple of sleepless nights. We have been checking your Web site frequently to get information. Thank you for being our connection.

Bev Weber

Roseville, Minn.

12:03 p.m., Wednesday, June 27

Our prayers are with everyone in Lake Tahoe and Godspeed to the courageous firemen and firewomen. We love Lake Tahoe and it’s the closest to Heaven that we have ever found. Hell has entered your area, but you will come through this much stronger and smarter than before. The people all over the world who love to visit your beautiful area won’t let you down. We will continue to come there and love and respect the area, damaged or not. Don’t fear that your local economy will suffer; it is in our power to make sure that does not happen. Just focus on your self-healing and we’ll do the rest. My prayers will continue.

Hugs to all from Ohio!

Kathy Morgan

Cincinnati, Ohio

11:01 a.m., Wednesday, June 27

My family members check your paper online hourly and would love to see an accurate map of the burn area! The bay area papers and newscasts show the fire all the way to the airport!

Thank you for your accurate and timely reports.

Anne Kobel

Thirty-six-year vacation homeowner

South Lake Tahoe

I was just reading the article on the environmental impact the fire has had on lake clarity, and the director of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (John Singlaub) said the mental picture keeps coming back to him of charcoal he saw washed up at Edgewood Beach. “This is really bad,” he said. No, what is really bad is all the destruction that has occurred. Is he going to fine all the people who have lost everything for polluting the lake?

Leeanne Jarrett

South Lake Tahoe

10:14 a.m., Wednesday, June 27

It saddens me to hear of numerous friends who lost their homes this past week.

Anyone who has run the trails, hiked the mountains, or cleared their back yards of pine needles knew just one flame could burn the basin down. Tahoe’s worst nightmare is happening!

Who failed the residents of Tahoe? That is the question. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people in South Lake and know the community will bounce back even stronger when it’s all said and done. Lake Tahoe will always be called my home.

Angelo Clelan

Reno, Nev.

After losing my home to the fire, I called the South Tahoe Public Utility District to suspend my sewer and water; they were so gracious to waive two quarters of payments.

After that, even though it will most likely be three to four years before I am able to rebuild, they will be charging for services for a house that is not there.

Needless to say, I am outraged over this and will not stand by quietly. STPUD, you are on notice: Show a little passion. Charging for service when they cannot be used, how pathetic. It’s an empty lot now.

Jeff Glass

South Lake Tahoe

9:27 a.m. Wednesday, June 27

I was awakened early Monday morning by my husband telling me there was a huge fire back home. Staggering downstairs, I was speechless watching the inferno on TV. Now living in Las Vegas, it was disheartning seeing my friends on TV standing there among the ash with nothing left.

Thanks to the Tribune, I am able to keep tabs on the ever-changing conditions back home. I am completely confident that my community will pull together and help those affected. I’m only sorry that I cannot be there to help directly. I am also thankful that the Tribune posted several sites where donations in all forms can be made.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the citizens of South Lake Tahoe.

Michelle Toner

Las Vegas

Our thoughts and prayers are with the people and business in the South Lake Tahoe region. I encourage everyone to continue with their plans to the region. We are going there the end of summer and would not consider canceling our trip. We feel this is vital to the econonmy.

Beth and Bob Jahreis

Branford, Conn.

Thank you so much for your frequent updates on all aspects concerning the Angora Fire. Many thanks also to all the firefighters and volunteers.

Shanon Mohagen

South Lake Tahoe

8:43 a.m. Wednesday

We are on an extended vacation to Alaska and desperate for information on this devastating fire in our town. The most reliable source of information has been the Tahoe Tribune online.

Thank you for your excellent, up-to-date coverage of the fire.

Brad and Maureen Senn

South Lake Tahoe

Thank you for the excellent coverage of the Tahoe fire. My daughter and family live in the Meyers area and by following your updates I am able to keep tabs of the situation. It’s a beautiful area and it’s sad to see so much destruction.

Everyone is doing an outstanding job. May God watch over them all.

Amelia Tasson

Johnstown, Penn.

1:37 a.m. Wednesday, June 27

Our hearts go out to all of the people who lost their homes and possessions. We left South Lake Tahoe and Barton Memorial Hospital in 1996, but still have family and friends in the area. We have kept a close eye on the fire details, and ache for all.

We will keep all of you close to our hearts, and in our prayers. As a community, South Lake Tahoe will rise again from the ashes. Best wishes to all.

Larry and Julie Mosbacher and family.

Meeteetse, Wyo.

I was a South Lake Tahoe resident from 1970 to about 1981. I attended South Tahoe Intermediate School and South Tahoe High School, graduating in 1976.

My prayers are with all who are living at Tahoe now and experiencing the devastation of the fire.

My children’s school, Middleton High School in Idaho, was almost completely destroyed by fire in February. I read that the fire was near South Tahoe High, but have not heard if it was spared or other schools have been in danger. I am hoping that someone may have a moment to respond to this letter. Thank you.

Betty (Wheeler) Solomon

Caldwell, Idaho

11:17 p.m. Tuesday, June 26

Thank you so much for the constant update on our community’s situation in Tahoe on your Web site. When my family could get hold of me, they read the most up-to-date information on your Web site. This set their mind at ease and they were able to tell me what was going on when there was no local TV or radio coverage.

Your state-of-the-art approach gave me and them what we needed to know. Like the community of Tahoe, you are wonderful and taking care of the locals. You have our utmost devotion and gratitude.

Kim Love

South Lake Tahoe

11:01 p.m. Tuesday, June 26

I left South Lake Tahoe in 1992, but I still love the area and have friends there. My sister owns a home off of North Upper Truckee. Thank God for the Tahoe Tribune for providing information about the fire and efforts to fight it, because we are not getting it here in Los Angeles. We first learned of the fire on Sunday evening, over 24 hours after it began.

The L.A. Times is still using the AP newswire reports. I am very glad I can get you online and find out what’s going on. Everyone up there, take care.

Susan Buckner

Seal Beach

10:23 p.m. Tuesday, June 26

Our family has come to Stanford Sierra Camp on Fallen Leaf Lake every year for almost 35 years. We have great affection for the entire South Shore area and are very distressed at your fire losses.

But we want to thank your online newspaper for being the best source of information for those of us who are far away. Thank you.

Sheryl King

La Jolla, Calif.

10:19 p.m. Tuesday, June 26

Just a quick note to say wonderful job keeping especially out-of-state people up to date on the fire. We just recently moved out of Tahoe and up to Washington State. We still own a home there but most of all have many good friends that we were worried about.

Being able to pull up the Tribune has given us the information we were looking for. All our thoughts are with all the victims of this awful fire. Also, kudos to all the amazing firefighters!

Mike and Jule Gunn

Issaquah, Wash.

9:57 p.m. Tuesday, June 26

With all that’s been happening this week, one would think that regulating, if not shutting down, the traffic/tourist flow throughout the basin over the course of this extended holiday period would be a great idea.

Unfortunatly the chamber of commerce would have you believe somthing else ” like Tahoe will fall off the map without its precious tourist dollar.

Besides, do we need any more unneeded traffic in the basin? We should respect the families that have lost their homes and the brave fire personnel that will be battling this beast well into the month of July.

Tahoe will not go broke, it will not fall off of the tourist map, but it could use a break so that it doesn’t turn into another gondola fire with tourists trying to get a closer look, chucking their cigarette butts off the gondola or otherwise forgetting that fire is a dangerous reality.

Evan though we’re told it does, money really doesn’t rule this basin, does it?

Anyway, we don’t have enough legal eyes watching out for the idiot who thinks it’s his god-given right to light off fireworks and propel us right back to June 24,2007, or July 2, 2002.

Let’s give those who live in the basin a little well-deserved time off from the tourist world while we try our best to minimize the impacts of this disaster.

Jeff Merrill

Stateline, Nev.

8:46 p.m. Tuesday, June 26

Thank you for the excellent reporting and coverage of the Tahoe Fire. Your web site has been the most informational media site on the timely happenings of the fire.

Though hours away, we are always interested in all events affecting Tahoe as we own a home in the Pioneer Trail area of South Lake Tahoe.

Pam Knox

Las Vegas, Nev.

Although I sit here 2,000 miles away, my heart is with everyone in South Lake Tahoe. Please know that you are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Debi Hamel

New Braunfels, Texas

Can you get the word out that although I am still waiting to hear if my home remains standing on Lukins Way, my law offices are open. If you lost your home and need general legal assistance or just help with insurance forms, etc., I am donating one hour of free time to anyone in need. Just call me at (775) 588-2506 or (530) 541-7817.

Deborah Palmer

Tahoe Attorney for 20 years

Zephyr Cove, Nev.

Having been long time South Shore residents from 1981-2000, We are so saddened to see the terrible fires that have fallen upon such a beautiful and special area.

Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the residents, and in particular to so many of our dear old friends.

Hermann and I left Lake Tahoe in 2000 to semi-retire in San Clemente California, and then three years ago fully retired in Montrose Colorado.

We love our new home, but will always cherish the years we lived on the South shore,and especially to all of the wonderful people who are blessed enough to call it home.

Once again, our prayers are with you all.

Hermann and Joan Schmid

Montrose Colo.

6:18 p.m. Tuesday, June 26

I resided on the South Shore from 1975 to 1978. I was there for the first day of classes at LTCC. My sister and her family and my Mother have been residents since 1975. The home of my sister is one of two left standing in their neighborhood. I have been following the coverage of this fire since my son called Sunday afternon to tell me of the fire. All of the information that I have gotten has come from your newspaper. I check it hourly when not working. There have been several instances when I have relayed information to my family members at the lake by phone that they did not know. For that I thank you and also for the outstanding coverage. Your organization has done an incredible and amazingly important job.

John Kehl

Moorpark, Calif.

Thank you for doing such a wonderful job in covering this disaster. Your up to the minute updates are above and beyond the call of duty. Our prayers are with you.

Chuck Eads

Salinas, Calif.

We pray for you and your community. We are scheduled to begin our annual visit on July 8. We will be there to support your recovery. If it is not good for us to be there, we will not, but we will continue to wish you all only the best. We love you. We love your community.

Gary Gustin

Sanger, Calif.

My heart is absolutely sick reading of the Angora Fire in the South Shore. To all my friends who are there, I hope you are all OK, my prayers are with you all.

Everyone else, I lived in South Lake Tahoe for about seven years. I worked as a lift operator at Heavenly ski resort, in marketing at Sierra at Tahoe ski resort, and before we moved away, I worked in the emergency room at Barton Memorial Hospital.

I became an adult while living in South Shore. I met my husband there, was married while we lived there, and gave birth to my daughter there. South Shore always has and always will have a huge place in my heart.

Reading the news of the fire makes me sad beyond belief. I don’t know how else to describe it. I wish with everything I have that I was there to help y’all. So many people that we know live in the fire zone, and I know more than a few that have lost their houses.

I love you all. Prayers for low temps and high humidity.

Jennifer Fettermann

Army Post Office, AP 96271

12:29 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

The song of wind in the pines used to be music to my ears, a refreshing reminder that we live in the forest. That was then. The reality of now is that on a warm summer day we hear not music but a threat, and our senses become alert for traces of smoke. That’s the reality of life in the Wooey, or Wildland Urban Interface.

Yesterday at 2 p.m. the wind was screaming. I looked up to see a thick column of brown smoke rising thousands of feet into the sky from the southwest. Thirty-five mph winds bent it overhead, gusts to 50 were reported. It was accompanied by ash, falling like black snow. The Angora fire.

Living in the Kingsbury corridor for years, threatened by wildfire and having been advised to pack up and be prepared to evacuate on three occasions has made us a bit sensitive to those signs. The adrenaline subsided a bit when we learned that the fire was at the other end of town, but relief turned to worry and immense sadness when we learned that so many friends and families in our community were evacuating from and losing their homes, or worse yet running for their lives from the flames.

Fire suppression has been official policy in forest management for a century, resulting in an enormous unnatural buildup of fuels around many of our communities. Modern fire science suggests a more proactive approach, and in 2004 Chimney Rock neighborhood residents were invited to form a Chimney Rock Chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council, or NVFSC. Our experiences with wildfire and the results of the 2004 Nevada Community Wildfire Risk/Hazard Assessment Project, which labeled Chimney Rock as at extreme risk of catastrophic wildfire, made us eager to jump in.

Fortunately Bob McDowell, one of our neighbors and a retired U.S. Forest Service forester, took the reins and has successfully guided us through the maze of obtaining grant money, which we’ve used to conduct two major fuels-reduction and defensible-space projects in the neighborhood, with guidance of NVFSC and the assistance of the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. We’ve come a long way toward making the Chimney Rock neighborhood Fire Safe, but there’s a long way to go.

The paradigm has changed since 2004, the early days of NVFSC fundraising. Many more chapters have been formed and all need money, but to date there simply hasn’t been sufficient political will to give fuels reduction projects the funding priority they deserve.

Simultaneously, however, budget constraints at every level of government mean that more groups are competing for slices of a smaller pie. A lot of good work has been done, but not enough to seriously mitigate the threat of catastrophic wildfire in the Tahoe Basin. About 85 percent of land in the Tahoe basin is under control of California, Nevada or the federal government, each entity with its own complex body of regulation. There is the Forest Service, trying to do its part but likewise hampered by budget constraints. There is the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, increasingly supportive of fuel-reduction efforts within its own extremely complex regulatory environment. In sum, lots of good intentions, but not a quick-response kind of climate.

Major erosion-control projects employing countless tons of riprap, miles of curbing directing runoff to myriad settlement ponds. Best Management Practices to mitigate sediments reaching Tahoe’s blue water. Wood-burning stove ordinances, mandated to improve air quality and, inronically, in part to keep particulate matter from settling in the lake. A catastrophic wildfire will render all these costly efforts moot. The price will be measured not only in enormous loss of personal property, but also in the devastation of our local economy.

Governments are notoriously reactive rather than proactive, and will no doubt be lined up to provide relief to those injured by this tragedy, as they should be. But please contact your elected representatives and let them know that in addition to that you believe the appropriate response to the Angora fire must be commitment of substantial resources to a proactive prescription of fuels reduction on both public and private land. Spending now to mitigate the threat of catastrophic wildfire will pay enormous dividends in the future, not only by protecting life, property and our unique Lake Tahoe environment, but by protecting our tourist economy, the business environment and the tax base that supports local government. We need grass-roots citizen involvement to spur governments to action.

By accelerating fuels reduction and promoting defensible-space work, we won’t eliminate future wildfires, and we certainly won’t eliminate the dangers inherent in dry conditions and high winds, but maybe we can reduce the danger enough to again enjoy the music of wind in the trees here in the Wooey.

Keep Lake Tahoe Blue: Don’t Let Tahoe Burn!

Bob Skinner

Stateline, Nev.

Anyone blaming the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency for not letting them cut trees around their house is full of it. Maybe that was true a couple years ago, but things have changed. I simply called the Lake Valley Fire Department, which is allowed by the TRPA to mark trees for cutting. It was so easy, made an appointment, they came out, asked which ones I wanted out, then they recommended which others should be cut.

They also recommended what else I should do to create defensible space. I was about two-thirds of the way through their recommendations they gave me a one and a half years ago. Just two weeks ago, I requested that my permit be extended so I could take down the rest of the trees and they informed me they had money to help subsidize, I think it was a three-person team at $60 an hour.

Unfortunately, it did not help, I lost my home. It takes the efforts of everyone around you to do the same.

Jeff Glass

Boulder Mountain Drive

South Lake Tahoe

Please turn the comments back on for the online Tribune so people can make comment like we do on the Appeal site. For better or worse, the online Tribune needs the comments section back. It was usful for the Heavenly North Bowl topic, and will be for the Angora Fire too. Thanks!

By the way, KRLT was an insult… I listen to Howie… He’s funny at the comedy club, but not when the town is on fire.

Ty Robben

South Lake Tahoe

11:59 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

Following suit in the “collaborative forestry governance” model mindset embedded in the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, came to fruition in the Lake Tahoe fire. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. The picture, published by the San Francisco Chronicle, illustrated a surviving rock-built entry way to what may have been a multi-million dollar elite home. The owners’ possessions and fruits of labor lay in the background as merely a pile of ashes. Behind that, tall trees remain, some still with branches laden with green needles.

The article focuses on “fire-tolerant species,” their replacement with “uniform stands of dense white fir and undergrowth.” The federal agencies that protect “forestry” in the Tahoe region “began to shift fire-management policies … in recent years have sought to clear away dense underbrush and thin trees in the forests around Tahoe and the rest of the Sierra.”

The “officials” tout that these “efforts probably saved at least 500 homes that otherwise could have been engulfed by the Angora fire.” The federal officials, the tribal environmental departments, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, all “pride themselves” in being “all on the same page.” Expert elicitations have yielded, “Conditions were ripe for a fire like this … fire-stripped hillsides could lead to a surge of runoff, clouding Lake Tahoe … basically a pulse of ash and carbon-black moving out into the lake … Back fallout … could … spoil views next year.” “Land managers are expected to help by putting out ground cover, installing drainage systems and taking other erosion-control measures.” “We need to more aggressively manage our forests.” “Just letting nature handle the recovery isn’t an option after 150 years of human activity and mismanagement.”

This statement is more representative of scientific indolence, than expert judgment. Even the “global warming economy” got a plug in the SF Chronicle article, as borrowed upon by the officials. At this juncture, the officials and specially elicited experts appear to be “all on the same page,” but are insistent upon reading the wrong book. Their institutionalized mindset is fixed upon the “forest” as a problem, their reaction is a higher degree of regulatory abstractions, and the “solution” is merely mitigation, cloaked in the sophistry of “recovery.”

Get this picture. The Tahoe homes, recreational villas, hotels, motels, casinos, infrastructure facilities are THE major contributors to “fire fuel loading.” The green growth is not the problem. The Tahoe enterprise zoning, land-use prescriptions, and planned unit developments are the protracted, intentionally designed elements in “fire fuel loading.” Duh! Ya think?

Their structural design, codified building materials, and the contractor specification directly “enhanced” the destruction of the interface forests, among which were permitted and managed “invasive species,” and permitted adjacent homes and structures. The Tahoe Plan was “marketed” widely, but nothing was right. The Tahoe community at large is financially secure. The community’s collaborative management “team” is the best that money can buy, yet were unable to act upon the major civil contributors to fire fuel loading.

The Tahoe Regional Management Agency, its decisionmakers, favored partners, stakeholders, facilitators and operative media “repeaters” share a “common vision.” Unfortunately, they are “blinded by their own light.” It seems that the rich “folk” at

Lake Tahoe haven’t been getting their money’s worth. As auditors for environmental science and community, we prefer to start by reading the right book. This year Infraspect auditors will engage the Lake Tahoe community to revalue “impact rankings” and risk management scenarios. Community members are invited to engage Infraspect auditors.

William Blair

Technical Performance Auditor Environmental Sciences

Eugene, Ore.

When I saw the clouds of orange smoke billowing over my neighborhood, I dashed into my home and called 911; then, I turned on the local radio station, KTHO, thinking there would be information about the fire. There was nothing but recorded music playing. I turned the radio dial trying desperately to find another station broadcasting live information about the fire, but there was nothing ” KTHO kept on playing tunes. I called the radio station and talked with the disc jockey at KTHO around 4:30 p.m. and told him that I thought his radio station was doing a disservice to Lake Tahoe residents who had no local information about the fire (especially, satellite TV subscribers).

It was my contention that a live person should be broadcasting to local residents ” nobody wants to listen to recorded music when a fire is raging out of control in the Tahoe Basin. The DJ argued with me that he didn’t have enough information to stay on the air and that KOWL was doing the same thing ” I restated to him, “You are doing a great disservice to the residents of Lake Tahoe by not broadcasting live information, continuously.”

We count on local radio stations to be our lifeline in these types of emergencies.

Bonnie Hill

South Lake Tahoe

The trees and houses of South Lake Tahoe are blackened by the devastating Angora Fire, but not the hearts of her residents. At the “town hall” meeting last night, the huge multipurpose room at South Tahoe Middle School was crammed to overflowing; the 300 handouts a safety office brought were laughably inadequate for a crowd of locals estimated at 1,200. The common theme: We love our town and what can we do to help our neighbors who lost everything?

Well, I’ll tell you what you, the non-locals, can do: Keep coming to visit our beautiful lake. The ash will be gone soon. Come and spend money in our restaurants and our local stores. Leave big tips – the waitress who brings you your pie may have lost everything but the clothes on her back. If you have a vacation home that you use once a twice a year or you vacation rent to frat boys having a party, consider long-term renting to one of the 17 hospital employees, the two or three doctors, the accountants, lawyers, waitresses, firefighters, police officers, store owners who lost their homes.

You come to Tahoe for the beauty of the lake, but I tell you the real beauty is her locals.

Kelly Shanahan, MD

South Lake Tahoe

10:51 Monday, June 25

As the fire continues to burn in your community, my thoughts are not only with the families who have lost their homes, but with the families whose loved ones are on the fireline. Will this be the last fire their firefighter is sent to? Will the families receive the dreaded news that their father, mother, son or daughter will not be coming home ever again?

March 10, 2005, was that day for my children and me. We came home to find several forest officials waiting at our door. John, the heart and soul of our family, was gone. He had been sent to Texas for a 21-day assignment. On the 18th day, the helicopter in which he and two other firefighters were in had gone down and there were no survivors.

The days that followed were a blur ” people coming and going from our house, the memorial service, and seeing John’s final flight as the helicopter lifted off with his casket in it. It took almost two weeks before reality set in and I realized that there were still bills to be paid, food to buy for the kids, and house payments to be made.

I had been told by the Forest Service that there would be no money coming in for several months. This is where the Wildland Firefighter Foundation stepped in.

The foundation is a nonprofit organization that assists families of fallen and injured wildland firefighters. It helps families get to the sides of their loved ones when they are injured, paying for flights and hotels. Grants are available for families of fallen firefighters to help them out through those first few months when there is no money. For many families, this is the only money that they will receive.

The foundation is a small grassroots organization whose inception came about after the Storm King tragedy. The office consists of four people and lots of volunteers. Most of these volunteers have lived through the same nightmare that I have. I spend many hours trying to educate the public about its mission and how they can help. Since most of the donations come in from firefighters and their families, it is a constant struggle to have enough money available to help out every family that needs assistance. There have been a couple of years in which Vicki Minor, the director of the foundation, has had to tell families, “I’m sorry. We just don’t have the funds to help you out.”

I would like to urge you folks of the Tahoe Basin to show your thanks to these brave men and women who are putting their lives on the line by donating to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. You can donate through their Web site at or by mail to WF Foundation, 2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705.

We all hope that their families will never need the help that the foundation provides, but knowing that it is there, should the occasion arise, is a blessing and comfort to the firefighters.

Lori Greeno

Past WFF grant recipient

Soulsbyville, Calif.

9:56 p.m. Monday, June 25

I am looking around my unburned Meyers neighborhood, and thinking that all of these vacation homes are just sitting here, and they should be used for the local families, temporarily, at least until they can figure out their next step. I don’t know how to get the word out, but I have a feeling that the owners of many of these uninhabited homes would be hailed as heroes for donating their houses for the time being. Can you guys put anything out there to encourage these homeowners to send some keys and permission slips?

Thank you so much for your continuous coverage.

Debbie Cooney


7 p.m. Monday, June 25

I was quite surprised recently to see news reports of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issuing an executive order authorizing the use of the 12,000 gallon DC-10 Supertanker water bombing aircraft stationed at SCLA airport in Victorville, California to fight fires in our state.

This is a tremendous light-years leap forward for fire fighting in California that has been denied to us for over a decade by corrupt fire officials and politicians who care only about preserving their paper-pushing empires and getting elected by lying, grinning for the cameras, and buying votes with the peoples’ own money with absolutely no regard for the thousands of homes and hundreds of lives destroyed in the interim.

Although not a past supporter of Gov. Schwarzenegger, I am forced here to recognize a quality in him that is almost nonexistent in the political arena today: a streak of integrity, intellectual honesty, and concern for human life and suffering that his predecessors lacked since 1995 regarding fire protection.

The ongoing problem however is the refusal of the U.S. Forest Service to allow Supertanker aircraft to stop fires on federal land causing our tragic local and national holocausts. We must encourage Gov. Schwarzenegger in this courageous effort and demand congress force the U.S. Forest Service to utilize Supertanker fire fighting aircraft and quit mismanaging our forests to cause wildfires as reported at (search: wildfire).

It is estimated that as little as six Supertankers can solve the uncontrolled wildfire problem in America but we have to get the Forest Service out of the way to do it. We should abolish the Forest Service, locally privatize that activity, and prosecute the officials who have burned our forests, homes, and families for over a decade.

Ed Nemechek

Adelanto, Calif.

10:45 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

I wonder if the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will fine CalFire for cutting down trees without their exalted permission.

What a difference in perspective a fire makes. It’s time for some changes at TRPA.

Rick Verbanec


10:43 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

To our friends, former neighbors, business colleagues and all others affected by the South Lake Tahoe wildfire, we would like to extend to you a reassurance of prayer from across the miles.

Having lived among you for many years and been through a few too-close-for-comfort fires and having had to evacuate ourselves at one point, we know from personal experience how terrible this situation is. May this outreach somehow be a comfort to you and to the community to know that you are being thought of by so many people during this devastating time.

For those who have had to flee their homes, we ask for God’s protection and guidance in the upcoming months as you rebuild and put your lives back together. And, a very special thanks goes out to the firefighters as they bring the fire under control. May you find strength in the Lord.

Jim and Lori Hales

First Christian Church

Burlington, Iowa

10:04 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

My family are one of the many evacuees that have been misplaced by the fire. I have to say the wonderful staff at the rec center and the red cross have been wonderful and I want to thank you very much.

Gary Moore’s son is a very helpful young man and found us shelter. Gary should be proud. Thank you to everyone at the rec cross, you were a blessing and we would have been lost without your guidance.

Brenda Rogers

South Lake Tahoe

9:07 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

From my point of view as an outside visitor to South Lake Tahoe, let me express thanks to all the emergency personnel who worked as a crack team during this event.

To those who have suffered personal loss, we who visit your community are saddened by this terrible event and wish you a speedy recovery. To all concerned, I hope you are able to learn from this event and formulate the best way to move forward to protect both your homes, businesses and infrastructure and the incredible natural resources which we all treasure and enjoy.

Renny Glover

Houston, Texas

8:59 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

There’s a lot of finger pointing going on already for who is to blame for the Lake Tahoe fire. Consider the fact that the Lake Tahoe basin is one of the most highly governmentally regulated areas in the country, it is clear who should take responsibility.

We are property owners whose house was less than half-mile from the fire line. We blame the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Their main reason for existence is lake clarity. As with all regulators, though, they extended their reach well beyond their original charter. Now they rule contrary to the public safety. Let me provide some examples: (1) All exposed ground must be mulched with dry pine needles, dry bark, vegetation, etc., (2) Only trees less than 6 inches in diameter and within 5 feet of the foundation can be removed, (3) Permits and inspections are required for almost everything and severe penalties result for violators. Their reach is so ridiculous that they have sued owners who cut down trees near their houses. When it came to Mr. Bush’s “Healthy Forest Act” that allowed thinning forests, their reaction was “we will study it” and has tabled it ever since.

People are not even allowed to gather dry fallen firewood in forested areas without red tape.

Few board members are true locals and most come from the liberal enclaves of California. Well meaning is insufficient. We want results.

The only thing that saved the main city from harm was a reversal of the winds at the last possible moment. In the future, we may not be so fortunate. It is time that government regulators be restrained for the interests of the people.

Stephen Sampayan

South Lake Tahoe

We are all of us heart-broken about the devastating impact of the Angora Fire. For those of us who are part-time residents ” who have vacation homes in South Lake Tahoe ” I wonder if there’s a way that we can help by providing those who lost their homes in the fire with temporary shelter at our vacation homes. We truly want to help in any way we can.

Isae Wada

Mill Valley, Calif., and part-time Spring Creek resident

8:28 p.m. Monday, June 25

Just wanted to let you know how your coverage has been appreciated. We have had a second family home in South Lake Tahoe since the ’60s and we appreciate your coverage. Good job! We are praying for everyone. Good Luck.

Linda Rice

Aptos, Calif.

2:27 p.m. Monday, June 25

I just wanted to quickly compliment the entire Tribune staff for their excellent on-line coverage of the current Angora fire. We own a vacation home on Plumas Circle.

Your online updates have been quite informative, and we conclude that we are OK for now. Our hearts go out to each of our less-fortunate neighbors. Keep up the fine efforts. Cheers!

Chris Maskiell

Pleasanton, Calif.

11:26 a.m. Tuesday, June 26

Showing 12-hour-old coverage and looped public announcements in the middle of an emergency is not a public service.

We had to go to CNN and call friends outside of the area to get up-to-date information.

Our local TV stations should re-evaluate their policies on providing public information during emergencies.

Ron Rettus

South Lake Tahoe

As a very loyal past Tahoe Daily Tribune employee, I am very disappointed in the professional coverage of the Angora Fire. Not only am I concerned for the community, but we still own a home in basin. I learned more about the fire in terms of detailed reporting and photographic images from the RGJ!

The Tahoe Daily Tribune Web site was just about the least useful information source available. Upon my last visit I also noticed the new tab format with a free circulation. Looks like the mouse (Mountain News) finally scared the elephant (Tahoe Daily Tribune) into a new course of action. In the game of “lead, follow or get out of the way,” it’s unfortunate to see we choose not to lead. I certainly hope you do not take the next step after “follow.”

Hoping for a better future for the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Until then, I still hold fond memories of my 6-year relationship with a then-great organization.

I have an idea that might help bring the community back to the paper, if interested, please call me.

Jim Smolinski

Burlingame, Calif.

To all my patients who have lost their homes: Just call the office at 542-4961 if you need refills of your medications. If we have samples, they are yours, but if not we will call them in ASAP. If your home has been destroyed or damaged, then leave your checkbook behind when you come in for your annual — I am waiving all co-pays and co-insurance payments for all who have been hurt by this fire.

Our thoughts are with you all.

Kelly Shanahan, MD

Emerald Bay Center for Women’s Health

South Lake Tahoe

9:28 a.m. Monday, June 25

You’ve done an excellent job of reporting on the Angora fire, despite the obvious physical dangers and the emotional stress of living in a place that is being actively threatened. Your professionalism and experience show through your writing and coverage of the tragedy. I’m thinking of you all at this difficult time and wishing you the best, while also hoping that life can return to normal for you all soon.

Take care my friends

Chad Sellmer

Termo, Calif.