Guest column: June is Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Month (opinion)
As we’ve learned from the recent Fire Season Outlook, year-round fire season is the new normal in the Lake Tahoe Basin and throughout the country. Now is the perfect time to learn what to do to prepare your home and family to survive wildfire, and to take action. To help you with this, the collaborative members of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team are once again conducting Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Month throughout the month of June. We encourage you to “Prepare Now! Wildfire Knows No Season.”
Plan to attend one of the family-friendly events that are taking place as part of Wildfire Awareness Month. Fire service representatives and many other experts will be on hand at each of the events to visit with people one-on-one, discuss wildfire prevention and answer preparedness questions. Smokey Bear may even make a guest appearance. Contact information and other details can be found on the calendar of events at tahoe.livingwithfire.info.
The community events include the following:
South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue will hold their 5th Annual Wildfire Safety Expo on Saturday, June 9 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the TJ Maxx parking lot located at 2015 Lake Tahoe Blvd., also known as the “Y”.
Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities along with other partners will hold a Wildfire Community Preparedness Day event on Friday, June 15 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. The meet and greet event will take place at the Zephyr Cover Post Office located at 212 Elks Point Road.
The Whispering Pines community of Incline Village will hold a Shrub Crawl and Block Party on Saturday, June 16. The community work day will take place from 9 a.m. to noon, followed by a pot luck from noon to 3 p.m. with music, games and prizes.
The U.S. Forest Service and Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District want you to Learn S’More About Fire Safety and Fire Safe at Zephyr Cove Beach, on Wednesday, June 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. There will be free s’mores for everyone.
North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District will hold their annual Community Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, June 30 from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the main fire station located at 875 Tanager Street in Incline Village.
Seasonal tips to help you prepare your home, family and community for wildfire year-round include:
Summer is a good time to connect with your neighbors to encourage community projects to help reduce the wildfire threat, maintain your defensible space and register your home and cell phones with your local emergency response system (often called Reverse 911).
Fall provides the opportunity to check areas where burning embers might accumulate on your property during a wildfire. The places where the leaves pile up also tend to be where embers would too during a wildfire. Remove any easily-ignited materials such as dried grass from around these areas and clean out leaves, needles and debris from your rain gutters.
Winter is the perfect time to complete a home inventory, prepare an evacuation plan for you and your household and prepare a to-go bag.
Spring is when you can begin working on your defensible space clean-up, check structures for any needed improvements to prevent ember entry and practice a family evacuation.
Visitors to the area are also asked to take precautions year-round to prevent starting a wildfire while recreating in the Lake Tahoe Basin’s extensive public lands and national forests. These include tips to:
Only have campfires in designated fire rings where they are allowed, and always put them out before leaving the campsite.
Avoid the use of charcoal when barbequing.
Use an approved spark arrestor when off-roading.
Leave the fireworks to the professionals.
For more information about the upcoming events, how to prepare for wildfire or to locate your local fire district, visit tahoe.livingwithfire.info.
The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) consists of representatives of Tahoe Basin fire agencies, CAL FIRE, Nevada Division of Forestry and related state agencies, University of California and Nevada Cooperative Extensions, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the U.S. Forest Service, conservation districts from both states, the California Tahoe Conservancy and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Its mission is to protect lives, property and the environment within the Lake Tahoe Basin from wildfire by implementing prioritized fuels reduction projects and engaging the public in becoming a Fire Adapted Community.