Prescribed burns set for lower Kingsbury Grade
Some areas of lower Kingsbury Grade may look a bit smoky Friday, but residents need not be alarmed.
Slash piles on about 23 acres of urban lots on the lower part of the grade will be burned as part of the Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit prescribed burning program.
“It’s a way for us to control some of the ladder fuels, the brush and slash and so on,” said Linda Massey, public affairs officer for the Forest Service. “If we get rid of that stuff then we can hopefully prevent much more intense fires. The burning is a two-prong process. We do a lot of mechanical hand treatment first. We take out what we can mechanically, then the prescribed burning is for those piles of slash we’ve accumulated by hand.”
Forest Service fire management personnel, the National Weather Service, and local air management districts are working together to minimize smoke in nearby neighborhoods.
“However, some smoke may settle into drainages and valleys during morning and evening hours, until atmospheric conditions allow the smoke to disperse,” Massey stated in a written release. “At night personnel will monitor burn sites at regular intervals. When necessary, patrols will be stationed on site continuously.”
Massey said workers take all necessary precautions to ensure fires do not get out of hand.
“We do have a burn plan and we have fire modeling techniques we use,” she said. “We carefully consider weather patterns and only begin burning when we know the conditions are going to be favorable and of course, we carefully monitor it.”
In addition to Kingsbury Grade burns, areas of Pioneer Trail are also included in the program.
“Several years back, there were about 800 acres on Pioneer Trail full of slash piles,” Massey said. “At the start of this fiscal year, we had burned about 400 acres. Our target for the 2000-01 fiscal year is to burn 383 acres and of that 383, so far we’ve burned about 70 acres.”
This year about 276 acres of piled slash will be burned in Douglas County. Areas in Glenbrook, Zephyr Heights urban lots along U.S. Highway 50, and lower Kingsbury urban lots from Terrace View to Chimney Rock will be included in the project.
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After a period of dry, warm weather, winter returns this week to Lake Tahoe.