Tahoe Conservancy provides $406k for planning to protect Tahoe communities during wildfires

Submitted to the Tribune
California Tahoe Conservancy property in South Lake Tahoe.
Tribune file photo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The California Tahoe Conservancy is awarding a $406,500 grant to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District to update critical plans to reduce wildfire danger to local communities. Tahoe RCD will coordinate regional efforts to update Tahoe’s “pre-attack plans” and the Lake Tahoe Basin Community Wildfire and Protection Plan to reflect lessons learned from the 2021 Caldor Fire.

“We look forward to working with our partners around the Basin to update these important plans,” said South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue Chief Jim Drennan. “By using the latest technologies, these plans will be living documents, and more interactive, making them more effective tools with which firefighters and land managers can protect Tahoe communities.”

Tahoe RCD will lead a process to update all pre-attack plans in the Basin, in coordination with the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team’s 21 federal, tribal, state, and local conservation, land management, and fire agencies. Pre-attack plans help first responders in the event of a wildfire by identifying important infrastructure, vulnerable populations, evacuation routes, water sources, temporary refuge areas, and areas where land managers have already thinned forests. 

Tahoe’s existing pre-attack plans helped firefighters prioritize and coordinate efforts as the Caldor Fire approached Lake Tahoe last summer. The plans were particularly helpful for the many firefighters who arrived from across the country to protect South Shore communities. 

“The Caldor Fire demonstrated the threat to Tahoe from wildfire, but also the value in being prepared,” said Conservancy Board Chair and El Dorado County District 5 Supervisor Sue Novasel. “Planning like this is critical to ensuring that Tahoe communities remain prepared for future wildfires, and that our first responders have the information they need to fight the fires when they arrive.”

Also in coordination with the TFFT, Tahoe RCD will lead a process to update the Lake Tahoe Basin Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The existing CWPP is a comprehensive planning document that has helped Tahoe partners prioritize steps to reduce wildfire danger. The plan details strategies to reduce hazardous fuels, harden homes and improve defensible space, and prepare Tahoe communities for wildfire. Because TFFT partners completed the CWPP in 2015, dated information needs to be updated, including lessons learned from the Caldor Fire. The update process will also result in a modernized plan with online access and dynamic updates, replacing what had been a 500-page compilation of text, tables, and maps.

Funds for these projects come from a grant provided by the California Department of Conservation. Regional Forest and Fire Capacity grants advance the goals of the California Wildfire & Forest Resilience Task Force, which include supporting activities that build local capacity, help plan and prioritize where to reduce hazardous fuels, and decrease the potential for future high-intensity wildfire.

Source: Conservancy

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