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.
We’ve heard your concerns, so this summer we will be offering cost free invasive weed removal services in select California communities where invasive weed populations have been taking root. We want to assist you in the removal of the weeds that have been identified as priority weeds by Basin invasive weed managers before they continue to invade your property and neighboring landscapes. Follow this link http://www.tahoeinvasiveweeds.org/ to learn how to identify some of the priority invasive weeds in the Lake Tahoe Basin. If you think that you may have one on your property, please contact the Tahoe RCD, http://tahoercd.org/contact-tahoe-rcd/ to verify the weed species. Then we will either provide you with a control strategy or we will roll up our sleeves and help you remove them.
What are invasive plants?
Invasive plants can grow and spread aggressively, choking out native and other desirable plants. The majority of non-native plants do not pose a threat to our Tahoe environment, however there are some that thrive in our climate and produce vast seed banks, have vigorous root systems, and lack natural predators. These characteristics enable these invaders to out-compete native plants and harm our natural environment. When left unchecked, they can impact wildlife communities, increase wildfire potential, accelerate erosion, and degrade native plant populations, water quality, land and recreational value.
Why you should care
In the Lake Tahoe Basin, we have relatively low invasive weed populations which we can control with diligent prevention and control measures. You can made a difference by learning how to identify and manage invasive weeds including preventing their unintentional spread to new locations. Simple measures like removing seeds that cling to your clothing, bicycle or dog can prevent the spread of invasive weeds. If you are a gardener don’t plant of share invasive plants, no matter how pretty or easy to grow. Also, if you are bring materials to your property such as soil or rock, make sure that it is certified weed-free. As you learn more about the importance of controlling invasive weeds, please spread your knowledge with your neighbors, friends and co-workers. The more we know, the stronger we can fight the threat of invasive weeds one yard at a time.
Kudos to the South Lake Tahoe community
Last summer over 33 tributaries were monitored on the south shore of Lake Tahoe, 255 acres of terrestrial weeds were mapped and over 3,000 weeds manually removed by volunteers. Don’t miss out this year! The Tahoe RCD will be organizing more community stewardship events. If you would like to be contacted sign up on-line or give us a call. You can also stay informed by visiting our website calendar where we will be posting various stewardship opportunities.
- Identifying invasive weeds can be tricky, there are many look-a-likes. To learn from the experts and see what these weeds look like first hand, sign up for the free The Lake Tahoe Basin Weed Coordinating Group Invasive Weed ID training on June 5, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake Tahoe Forest Service Office in South Lake Tahoe. Check back for registration details.
- Create your own neighborhood weed pull event. We can help!
Through the Community Watershed Partnership program, in 2014, the Tahoe RCD is offering technical assistance in select watershed areas. Map of the Community Watershed Partnership areas is shown below:
View Community Watershed Partnership in a larger map
We will continue to assist property owners outside of these designated areas as time and funding permits. If you are seeking BMP, Lake Friendly Landscaping or Invasive Weed technical assistance, please use the ‘request our service’ form at TahoeRCD.org and we will contact you within 4 days to discuss next steps and the resources available to you.
The District’s present capacity to provide cost free BMP assistance is limited; however, the TRPA Stormwater Program webpage has resources available to help you design your own residential BMPs. Please visit TahoeBMP.org to learn more.
If you have immediate questions about TRPA’s BMP program, please contact them by phone (775) 589-5202 or online TahoeBMP.org.
Please participate in our 2014 Community Survey to help us understand how we can assist you with BMPs and Landscape Conservation. Please note that Tahoe RCD services are grant funded and are subject to change.
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