A fire adapted community is one where the people have joined together to adequately prepare themselves and their homes for the inevitable occurrence of wildfire.
With the looming expectation of another year of drought, our communities face another challenging year of wildfire threat. January finished as one of the driest Januaries on record and while the recent storms were welcomed, they did little to increase snow pack throughout the state. As a result, fire agencies are preparing for another long fire season. “The drought has set the stage for another busy fire season,” said Michael Brown, Fire Chief for North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. “All the Federal, State and Local Fire Agencies are working together to protect the people, property and unique natural resources within the Lake Tahoe Basin.”
In 2014, there were over 1000 more wildfires in California than the previous year. In fact, fire season never really ended. The fuels that burn in wildfires, such as grass, brush and trees, remained extremely dry and susceptible to ignition all year long. This year is looking to be no different. As an example, the Round Fire, which started on February 6, 2015, just north of the town of Bishop, quickly consumed 7,000 acres and destroyed 40 structures. “A fire of this significance in the month of February should raise our awareness and lead to positive actions to prepare our communities for fire,” said Tim Alameda, Fire Chief for Meeks Bay Fire Protection District.
Depending on where we live in the United States, natural destructive forces abound, whether they are hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, floods or fire. It is certainly no secret that we live in an environment where large damaging and costly wildfires occur on a routine basis. While the odds may not seem to be in our favor, our communities can adapt to the threat of wildfire and we can diminish the risks to our livelihood. “A Fire Adapted Community is one in which the community places a high priority on the About the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) consists of representatives of Tahoe Basin fire agencies, Cal Fire, Nevada Division of Forestry and related state agencies, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the USDA Forest Service, conservation districts from both states, the California Tahoe Conservancy and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Our Mission is to protect lives, property and the environment within the Lake Tahoe Basin from wildfire by implementing prioritized fuels reduction projects and educating the public on becoming a Fire Adapted Community. For more information, visit www.tahoefft.org. common vulnerability to destruction by wildfire,” said Dr. Elwood Miller of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension. “The adapted community is one that includes the perspective of wildfire threat, and the high probability of serious loss, as a routine way of viewing and characterizing the community. As a result we change our behavior and implement measures to mitigate the threat.”
“We can’t do this alone,” said Fire Chief Michael Schwartz of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. “Motivated residents who work with their neighbors and local fire department to prepare their communities for fire is the key to a successful outcome when wildfire strikes.” A Fire Adapted Community can survive a wildfire with little or no assistance from firefighters. These communities are characterized by homes that are modified to reduce the chance of ignition and where vegetation and flammable items have been reduced around a home to provide good defensible space. A fire adapted community is buffered by fuel breaks where flammable vegetation has been modified to slow the spread of flames and provide a zone where firefighters can aggressively fight a fire. “When wildfire comes, Fire Adapted Communities reduce the potential for loss of human life and injury, minimize damage to homes and infrastructure and reduce firefighting costs,” adds Dr. Elwood Miller. “For more information on Fire Adapted Communities, I encourage everyone visit our website at http://www.livingwithfire.info/tahoe .
For more information, please contact:
Division Chief, CALFIRE, Amador-El Dorado Unit, East Division Operations South Lake Tahoe and Alpine Community
AND…Don’t forget about incorporating fire wise landscaping practices into your landscape design. The Tahoe RCD can help! Sign up for a FREE landscape conservation consultation at TahoeRCD.org and contact your local fire official to receive a FREE defensible space inspection!!
Do you enjoy getting your hands dirty? Do you enjoy sharing your knowledge? Do you want to meet new people who share your gardening passion?
Then you sound like an ideal candidate to become a Master Gardener of Lake Tahoe. You will be trained by the University of California Cooperative Extension in science-based horticulture and then volunteer to teach others on sustainable gardening practices.
Applications Due January 16th
12 – Week Training Session
Fridays: March 13, 20, 27 – April 17 & 24 – May 1, 8, 15 & 29
Saturdays: March 21 & 28 – May 2
Cost: $185 (includes books and resources)
Classes held at Lake Tahoe Community College from 10am – 3pm
Apply at: http://ucanr.edu/uccemglt-application
After a busy field season the Tahoe RCD will no longer be offering BMP or Landscape Conservation assistance until further notice. Please visit the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Stormwater Program website for BMP resources, TahoeBMP.org. To learn more about Tahoe Friendly Landscaping Practices, contact the UCCE Master Gardeners of Lake Tahoe at http://cecentralsierra.ucanr.edu/Master_Gardeners/LTMG/
Thank you for taking action to stop stormwater pollution in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Learn more about what you can do on the stormwater webpage and follow us on Facebook.
Don’t miss the resources on our Landscape Conservation webpage and check back to learn how your property can become Tahoe Friendly Landscape Certified in 2015.
All our services are grant funded and subject to change.
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