Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Archives: February 2020

Golden Bear Community Earns First South Lake Tahoe Firewise USA® Designation

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Press Release

Lower Montgomery Estates Community (Golden Bear) Earns First South Lake Tahoe National Firewise USA® Designation

Meyers, CA Feb 5, 2020 – Residents of the Golden Bear Community have been recognized with a Firewise USA® designation by the National Fire Protection Association, making them the first South Lake Tahoe community to earn this designation.

The Golden Bear Community established neighborhood leaders that partnered with Lake Valley Fire Protection District, CAL FIRE and the Tahoe Resource Conservation District to complete stringent criteria in order to participate in the Firewise USA® program and prepare their community for wildfire.  Residents completed a wildfire hazard assessment, developed an action plan to guide their efforts to reduce the risk of wildfire in their community, coordinated a community evacuation drill and created a neighborhood website for dissemination of information as it relates to crises and natural disasters.

When asked why the neighborhood wanted to become a Firewise USA® community, resident Steve Martenson replied “during red flag conditions a house on Lodgepole Trail caught fire. Fire crews were able to extinguish the fire and prevent spread to the neighboring homes and vegetation, but it was a wakeup call. It made us realize that there is more that we can do without relying on local heroes. We wanted to know how we could help ourselves and take steps to make our community safer”.

In order to complete the required criteria homeowners volunteered hundreds of hours of their time to complete defensible space projects, which removed 189 cubic yards of biomass fuels through curbside chipping and defensible space projects with the help of the Tahoe Resource Conservation District’s Fire Adapted Communities Program.  The Golden Bear Community invested nearly $13,000 in fire prevention and defensible space work in 2019.

This designation makes Golden Bear one of approximately 1500 neighborhoods in the country recognized for their efforts in wildfire preparedness. Lake Valley Fire Protection District would like to thank community leaders Donarae Reynolds and Patti Assayag along with website designer Steve Martensen for their efforts in helping to establish a Firewise USA® community.

Building on the accomplishments of Golden Bear local agencies have scheduled additional evacuation drills in the Meyers, CA area and will use Golden Bear as their blueprint for success. Communities interested in participating in the Firewise USA® program can learn more at www.firewise.org/usa or contact the Tahoe Resource Conservation District at 530-543-1501 ext. 114.

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Lake Valley Fire Protection District

2211 Keetak Street

South Lake Tahoe CA 96150

530-577-3737

Kileigh Labrado- PIO labrado@caltahoefire.net

Diana Swart – PIO- diana.swart@fire.ca.gov