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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

Wildfire Pre Attack Plans Funded by Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation for the Tahoe Basin

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 18, 2019

Wildfire Pre Attack Plans Funded by Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation for the Tahoe Basin

The Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation is happy to announce a donation of $18,057 to the Tahoe Resource Conservation District (Tahoe RCD) to enhance wildfire suppression capabilities on the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe. This donation will result in expansion of strategic and tactical Wildfire Pre Attack plans covering the entire Lake Tahoe Basin. Pre Attack Plans help first responders by identifying critical infrastructure, vulnerable population groups, evacuation routes, water sources, Temporary Refuge Areas, and locations where forests have been thinned before a wildfire strikes.

The Tahoe RCD provides the technical expertise for the project. “Multiple fire and law enforcement agencies, the Tahoe RCD, and the Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team have been working together for over 2 years developing Wildfire Pre Attack Plans around Lake Tahoe”, said Nicole Cartwright, Tahoe RCD Executive Director. “Through this donation the entire Tahoe Basin will now be covered with Pre Attack Plans for first responders.”

The additional Wildfire Pre Attack Plan maps will cover North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District (NLTFPD), Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District (TDFPD), and the federal lands protected by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit in Nevada.

“Our local communities, economy and the natural scenic beauty of Lake Tahoe are at risk of a large and damaging wildland fire,” said TDFPD Fire Chief Scott Baker. “Pre Attack Plans bring multiple agencies together to strategize large areas before a wildfire strikes making for a more efficient and effective response.”

The Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation has focused its efforts on fire prevention and safety for the past two years. Last year, Parasol awarded $42,500 from their Community Fund to fund the last two AlertTahoe cameras in the Tahoe Basin and seeded an endowment fund with $55,000 to maintain the cameras in perpetuity. “At Parasol we are dedicated to enhancing and preserving the quality of life we all enjoy at Lake Tahoe,” said Claudia Andersen, Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation CEO. “Every year we see more and more communities impacted by wildfire throughout the west. That is why we are proud to support this effort to provide our local fire agencies and first responders with advanced planning capabilities in order to protect our future.”

“Pre Attack Plans provide a strategic and tactical advantage to first responders during a wildfire in order to better protect communities at risk,” said NLTFPD Fire Chief Ryan Sommers. “It is critical we do everything we can to reduce the size and severity of wildfires, and we applaud the efforts of the Parasol Tahoe Community Foundation for their commitment to fire safety.”

Three Wildfire Pre Attack Plan maps have already been completed on the California side of Lake Tahoe, and planning is already underway with the City of South Lake Tahoe and Heavenly Mountain Resort through a CAL FIRE grant.

“Any large wildfire in Tahoe will bring first responders from out of the area to assist local, state and federal agencies; that is why we are producing these plans in a geo-referenced, digital format so out of area resources can gain a tactical advantage before arriving,” said Chris Anthony, CAL FIRE Assistant Chief. “We must do everything we can to protect communities from wildfire, and this one part of a larger strategy to do just that.”

Contact: Megan Weiss at 775-298-0188 or Meganw@parasol.org

Chris Anthony, CAL FIRE at 530-708-2706 or chris.anthony@fire.ca.gov

Nicole Shaw, Tahoe RCD at 530-539-9157 or nshaw@tahoercd.org