In an effort to maintain healthy ecosystems and reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires, the Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team (TFFT) is set to continue their fall prescribed fire operations around Lake Tahoe over the coming weeks, dependent on conditions and weather. This strategic approach involves various agencies working together to conduct controlled burns in specific areas.
California State Parks plans to undertake understory burning at Burton Creek and Sugar Pine Point state parks, while the California Tahoe Conservancy, in collaboration with the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, will focus on burning piles near Crystal Bay. The North Tahoe Fire Protection District and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District are also scheduled for prescribed burns near Carnelian Bay and Incline Village, respectively. The USDA Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is slated to burn piles and heavy fuels near Fallen Leaf Lake.
It’s important to note that this operation may produce more smoke than usual due to anticipated calm winds. Residents and visitors are encouraged to stay updated on air quality conditions through the AirNow website and the U.S. EPA/Forest Service Fire and Smoke Map. Additionally, the prescribed fire map with project details and locations can be found at Tahoe Living With Fire.
Prescribed fires are a crucial part of forest management, emulating the historically occurring low-intensity fires that play a vital role in fire-adapted ecosystems. These controlled burns aim to remove excess vegetation, reducing fuel loads that could otherwise contribute to uncontrollable wildfires. They also promote forest health by creating space for new growth, benefiting wildlife foraging, nutrient recycling, and pest and disease control.
Prescribed fires are executed when favorable conditions are present, typically during the cooler fall and winter months. Rigorous planning, including assessing smoke dispersion conditions, temperature, humidity, wind, and vegetation moisture, determines the timing and location of each burn.
The TFFT emphasizes their support for prescribed fire under suitable conditions and works closely with air quality districts to mitigate smoke impacts on the public. It’s important to remember that prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and shorter in duration than smoke generated by uncontrolled wildfires.
Before ignitions, agencies coordinate with local and state air quality authorities to ensure safe conditions for smoke dispersal. They also provide advance notice to the public through various means, including road signs, email notifications, and updates on local fire information lines.
These prescribed fires are a proactive measure to safeguard communities and maintain the ecological balance of Lake Tahoe’s surrounding areas. They are a testament to the collaborative efforts of agencies dedicated to responsible forest management.