June 19, 2015    
 
 
Welcome! June marked the beginning of Wildfire Awareness Month for the Lake Tahoe Basin with activities occurring around the area. You can view the Living With Fire website for the Lake Tahoe Basin and their schedule of events here. In this issue of the Pulse we will introduce you to our new program assistant, hear about an interview with 16 Incident Commanders, learn about a new fire camera technology and more!
Who Would Know Better?

Photo courtesy of Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District 

To capture the insights of senior wildfire control officials, a recent study interviewed 16 Incident Commanders of large and complex western wildfires that threatened Wildland Urban Interface developments. In guided conversations these seasoned firefighters were asked for their evaluation of the importance of community preparedness for wildfire. A summary of their response is as follows:

  1. Completion of community preparedness work is very valuable not only for the survivability of structures but perhaps more importantly the safety of on-the-ground firefighters.
  2. Community wildfire preparedness improves communication among residents and firefighters resulting in increased effectiveness and efficiency of those charged with fighting the fire.
  3. Defensible space and hazardous fuel removal treatments must be applied at the parcel, community and landscape scale. Often overlooked in programs like Firewise are fuel breaks that must be completed in concert with individual property and community level projects.
  4. The full realization of structure protection and safety benefits is seriously diminished by "patchy" landowner participation in preparedness activities.

A Fire Adapted Community is one where residents accept their vulnerability and take action to not only lower the wildfire threat to those structures they call home, but also to ensure as safe an environment as possible for those responsible for protecting the community and fighting the fire.

Partner Spotlight: 
AlertTahoe

Smoke from the King Fire as viewed from the AlertTahoe HD fire camera at Heavenly Valley Ski Resort.

 

The University of Nevada, Reno's Seismological Laboratory is expanding its earthquake detection system to help in the early detection of wildland fires. High-definition, infrared capable cameras have been strategically located and have already allowed fire crews to quickly spot wildfires around the Lake Tahoe region. Spotting fires early allows rapid initial attack and prevents their catastrophic spread. Graham Kent, director of the University of Nevada, Reno's Seismological Laboratory, believes this new generation of e-cameras would have helped spot the 2007 Angora Fire much earlier before it became a high intensity wildfire and destroyed 254 homes and a large piece of the South Shore forest. "Fires like the Angora Fire would've been easily detected because it smoldered for hours during the morning," he says in this article. "That type of fire would've been seen easily."

 

In an effort to raise $2 million in funds to support and expand this important, early-fire-detection system, AlertTahoe was launched. The goal of AlertTahoe is to help maintain the existing 5 fire cameras already in place, as well as place an additional 15 fire cameras within and encircling the Lake Tahoe Basin. A new on demand time-lapse feature allows viewers to watch the cameras to check for fire ignitions. Click here  to learn more about AlertTahoe or visit alerttahoe.seismo.unr.edu.

Move Your Firewood
 
This firewood stack was ignited by embers during Carson City's Waterfall Fire. Fortunately, firefighters arrived in time to disassemble the stack and extinguish the flames. Photo courtesy of John Lappin.

 

One of the most common fire hazards to Lake Tahoe Basin homes is the presence of firewood stacks located adjacent to the house. Loose bark and wood splinters from the logs often accumulate within the firewood stack. These materials can be easily ignited by windblown embers produced by a wildfire and can eventually start the whole stack burning. Burning firewood stacks can be difficult to extinguish and can pose a serious threat to your home. Firewood should be stored at least 30 feet from the house. If the stacks are located uphill from the house, make sure that burning logs cannot roll downhill and ignite the home. You may also want to cover your firewood with a fire-resistant tarp.  

Defensible Space and the New Homeowner

 

Jenny and her husband are new homeowners and learning how to "Be Ember Aware". Read more about Jenny as she prepares her home for wildfire and share your defensible space tips with her here.

Funding Opportunities
FEMA

 

On June 1, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced $180 million in funding available through two Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs: Flood Mitigation Assistance (FMA) and Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). These two grant programs provide states, tribes, territories, and local governments funding for eligible mitigation activities to strengthen our nation's ability to reduce disaster losses and protect life and property from future disaster damages. Both Hazard Mitigation Assistance FY 2015 Funding Opportunity Announcements can be found at www.grants.gov. Eligible applicants must apply for funding through the Mitigation eGrants system on the FEMA Grants Portal accessible at https://portal.fema.gov. FEMA opened the application period on May 29, 2015. All applications must be submitted no later than 3:00 PM EDT on August 28, 2015.

 

Further information on these grant programs is available at http://www.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance.

What do you think?
We'd like your feedback! What information would you like to know to help reduce the wildfire threat to your community? Reply to this email to share your thoughts.
This newsletter is provided by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, an EEO/AA institution, with funding from a State Fire Assistance grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry and USDA Forest Service. Additional support is provided by the Bureau of Land Management - Nevada State Office.
In This Issue

Introducing... Jenny Digesti

 

 

Jenny has been working with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension for over 3 years and has recently joined the Living With Fire  team as their new Program Assistant. She has degrees from Bradley University and Illinois Central College and has been working with various community based programs since she graduated from Bradley in 2005. Jenny brings her passion for helping improve the lives of her fellow community members, as well as a keen enjoyment for working with people. Among many other duties, Jenny will be sending out all upcoming editions of The Network Pulse newsletter, so please be sure to add Jenny's email address to your contact list to ensure her future correspondence doesn't go to your junk folder: digestij@unce.unr.edu.

Also, you can get to know Jenny a bit more in this month's blog , where she shares her experience as a brand new homeowner and learns about preparing her home's defensible space. If you have any questions about the Living With Fire program, or would like to contact Jenny - please feel free to email or call her at 775-336-0261.
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