Supes may authorize Tahoe fire awareness campaign, send letter supporting fire legislation

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County supervisors on Tuesday may authorize a proclamation that establishes a wildfire awareness education campaign through the summer at Lake Tahoe and they also may send a letter supporting legislation that would have the Forest Service immediately suppress wildfires.

Supervisors may also execute an agreement with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to support its recreation and tourism initiative and authorize an agreement that will push forward a Rubicon Trail reroute at its regular meeting that begins at 9 a.m. in-person and via livestream.

District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel is recommending that the board approve and authorize Chairwoman Lori Parlin to sign a proclamation declaring May through October as the Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Campaign.

May has historically been known as Wildfire Awareness Month, but with the increase in severity and duration of fire season, and the economic and social impact, the board may sign off on the campaign that will educate visitors and residents throughout the summer and into fall.

This year’s banner theme would be “Tahoe Wildfire Ready.”

The proclamation supervisors may approve and authorize on Tuesday.

The Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District will also be part of a presentation on Thursday at the Douglas County Commissioners meeting discussing the wildfire awareness campaign.

Supervisor George Turnboo is recommending the board sign a letter to support HR 6903, which is proposed in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Tom McClintock (R-Calif., 4th District) and Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif., 1st District).

The proposed bill would direct the Forest Service to use all resources to immediately suppress wildfires on their lands and put an end to the policy of letting fires burn. The bill would require the Forest Service to act on a fire within 24 hours after it is detected.

The bill would not inhibit the suppression efforts of state or local firefighting agencies that are authorized to respond to wildfire on Forest Service land, may only use fire as a resource management tool if the fire is a prescribed fire that complies with applicable law and regulations and may only initiate a backfire or burnout during a wildfire by order of the responsible incident commander, said the proposed agenda item.

The item is on the consent agenda and likely won’t be discussed.

Also on consent, supervisors are also expected to authorize an agreement that will help reroute approximately a half mile of the Rubicon Trail.

The county’s chief administrative office is recommending supervisors approve and authorize the office to sign an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service Truckee Ranger District for the work on an off highway motor vehicle grant for planning the reroute of the 22-mile long, 4×4 trail.

The agreement will reimburse the Forest Service for completing the required environmental analysis and documentation for the reroute around sensitive areas in the Tahoe National Forest.

The county said TNFS has resources internally to complete the studies and NEPA document at a greatly reduced rate.

El Dorado County, working with the Tahoe National Forest Service, submitted a planning grant in 2019 for a reroute of the popular rail. There is an area around Miller Creek which was identified in a survey from California Geological Survey as the biggest threat to a trail closure because of a potential landslide making the trail impassable.

The reroute of the trail is approximately one half mile long and will bypass this area and another environmentally sensitive area.

The project’s total cost is $35,554 with $25,000 to be paid from the county to the Forest Service, and $10,554 in volunteer time and other non-cash contributions will be paid for by the Forest Service.

The county portion is to be paid for by the State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle grant funds. As the grant administrator, state parks will receive 15% administrative charges ($5,333).

The board may also authorize a funding agreement not to exceed $10,000 with the TRPA for its Responsible Recreation and Tourism Initiative.

The board on Jan. 25, approved a $10,000 general fund contribution toward a national destination management contract and up to 40 hours of staff time to participate in the program. In order for the county to participate, it has to execute a funding agreement.

The recreation and tourism initiative aims to create a shared vision for the future of tourism; Consider a new economic model; Develop strategies to influence stewardship; Provide sound baseline information and performance measures; and set the course for coordinated action and decision making.

TRPA will select a leading national destination management consultant firm to guide the process in collaboration with a steering committee, with a total budget for the planning work of $175,000.

The selected consultant will be responsible for preparing a report on the status and trends of tourism in the Tahoe Basin, as well as a vision and mission statement, and project work plan for the steering committee in order to implement the strategies and tactics that they agree upon as a result of this effort.

For the full supervisors agenda and to livestream the meeting, visit here. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around the Lake Tahoe Basin and beyond make the Tahoe Tribune's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.