State firefighters may be stationed in Tahoe basin
Fire officials are investigating whether state firefighters should be stationed in the Lake Tahoe Basin to add resources to an area that has traditionally been the sole territory of federal and local fire units.
The decision to bring Calfire into the basin hinges on whether the move would be cost effective, said the California Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission at their meeting last Friday in Tahoe City.
Existing policy gives the U.S. Forest Service responsibility over fires that break out in the Wildland Urban Interface, while the local fire districts respond to structure fires and medical calls.
If Calfire assumed a firefighting role in the basin, they would take over direct protection responsibilities on 32,000 acres of private and state park lands on the California side of the basin, as well as respond to any calls, including medical, that the local fire districts and the U.S. Forest Service receive, said Chief Bill Holmes of Calfire’s Amador-El Dorado Unit.
“Calfire, formerly CDF, has never had any fire protection responsibility in the basin,” Holmes said in a phone interview following the meeting. “In other words, it’s always been given to the Forest Service.”
After discussing the matter with officials from federal, state and local fire agencies, the commission’s Community Fire Safety Committee said they needed more information before they could justify any decision.