FEMA promotes new disaster app as summer fire season continues in Lake Tahoe Basin
As smoke from the Mineral Fire in Fresno County blew into the Lake Tahoe region, a Tahoe Basin Strike Team wrapped up a 24-hour firing assignment on Aug. 11 in assistance to the Cal Fire Fresno Kings Unit.
The fire, which started on Aug. 9, has burned 7,050 acres west of Coalinga and is 35 percent contained as of Aug. 12. An evacuation order is in place for Coalinga Mineral Springs Road. The cause is still under investigation.
The Mineral Fire is just one of 11 active fires burning across California, according to Cal Fire. Nine more fires across the state are classified as contained.
The National Interagency Fire Center reported that California and much of Nevada received less than 25 percent of normal precipitation in July. The agency is forecasting the wildfire potential to carry through to November.
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In response to the elevated wildfire conditions, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is asking for the public to utilize its new mobile app.
The app, free for Apple and Android users, sends severe weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five locations across the U.S. It provides safety and preparedness reminders for over 20 types of hazards, including fires, floods and earthquakes.
Through the app you can also create a custom emergency checklist, apply for assistance from FEMA, and get driving directions to open shelters and disaster recovery centers.
Photos of disasters can also be uploaded through the app to assist first responders.
According to FEMA, two-thirds of American households lack adequate plans for disasters, despite the fact that extreme weather events and wildfires are on the rise.
Locally, fire restrictions on National Forest System lands in the Lake Tahoe Basin have been in effect since July 1, restricting campfires to certain exempted recreation sites. Smoking is prohibited, except within an enclosed vehicle, building or exempted recreation site. Fireworks and other pyrotechnic devices are not allowed.
Illegal and unattended campfires cause over 90 percent of wildfires in the Basin, according to Forest Service officials.
“Given the past several years of drought we’ve experienced and our current warm temperatures, we ask that the public follow restrictions and help us to keep the Lake Tahoe Basin safe from human caused wildfires,” said Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit forest supervisor Jeff Marsolais.
“Folks need to remain vigilant and remember that campfires and charcoal grills are only allowed in approved areas of the National Forest.”
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