Smoke may be visible at Tahoe from prescribed burn in TNF

Submitted to the Tribune

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Tahoe National Forest, in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, plans to prescribed burn up to 500-acres near French Meadows Reservoir, approximately 36 miles northeast of Foresthill. Dependent on environmental conditions, the burn is planned to start Wednesday, June 21, and may last up to two weeks.  

After ignitions, Tahoe National Forest fire staff will patrol and monitor the area 24-hours a day until the fire is determined out. 

Smoke will be visible to recreational users in the French Meadows basin, Granite Chief Wilderness and surrounding areas. Smoke may impact the towns of Foresthill and Georgetown and could also be visible to travelers on Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50. Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions. Smoke may settle into the valleys in the evening and lift in the morning. 

Air quality is an important value that is considered by federal land managers during every phase of the prescribed fire process from planning to implementation. The Tahoe National Forest has collaborated with the Placer County Air Pollution Control District while preparing for this project and other prescribed fires near Foresthill and surrounding communities. 

Motorists are advised to drive with caution and are asked to watch out for firefighters and fire equipment near the French Meadows area. Traffic controls will be implemented along Forest Service Road 96 between French Meadows Dam and the eastern portion of French Meadows Reservoir. 

Prescribed fire treatments are meant to replicate the effect of natural wildfire, resulting in less available material to burn and less intense wildfire activity. This in turn assists firefighters in protecting communities, property and infrastructure. Other benefits include enhancing wildlife habitat and reintroducing low-intensity fire into a fire-adapted ecosystem. 

The planned burn is part of the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project, a 28,000-acre forest health project aiming to improve forest resilience and reduce the risk of high-severity wildfire in the headwaters of the American River. The project has been developed by a diverse group of partners including Tahoe National Forest, Placer County Water Agency, The Nature Conservancy, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Placer County, American River Conservancy and Sierra Nevada Research Institute.  

Incident updates and any schedule changes will be announced on Tahoe National Forest’s InciWeb

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