This month, the Tahoe Network of Fire Adapted Communities would like to highlight the neighborhood of Skyland in Zephyr Cove, Nevada. Ann Grant, the neighborhood Ambassador, has been working with her neighborhood to reduce the wildfire threat for 11 years. The neighborhood falls within 95% of compliance for having defensible space and is a model for what a Fire Adapted Community should look like. Ann has partnered with the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team, the Fire Public Information Team, the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Living With Fire Program and the Skyland General Improvement District (GID) to make sure that her neighborhood and others alike are taking the threat of wildfire seriously. Ann has organized and participated in numerous fire safe activities, including organizing an evacuation drill for her neighborhood that ended with a barbeque at a nearby park, serving as an evacuation center.The Skyland, NV neighborhood continually receives information on defensible space, through Ann's contribution to the GID's homeowner e-mail list. The neighborhood plans to maintain the Fire Adapted Community momentum by regularly gathering to discuss and plan actions to becoming more fire safe.
If you would like to become a leader or connect with Ann to see how she has accomplished Fire Adapted Community goals in her neighborhood, email Marybeth at the Tahoe RCD at mdonahoe@Tahoercd.org or call at 530.543.1501 ext 114. Together, we can make a difference in your neighborhood!
Winter Prescribed Burning
Most people don't associate the winter season with fuel reduction efforts, however many prescribed fire projects occur during the winter months. Prescribed fires within the Lake Tahoe Basin are limited to a narrow window of opportunity due to weather constraints, proximity to the wildland urban interface, and limited treatment options.
Prior to the arrival of early loggers in the mid-1800s, natural ignitions from lightning and the indigenous Washoe people's fire activities allowed the forests within the Lake Tahoe Basin to burn more frequently. According to the Lake Tahoe Basin Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP), an estimated 2,100 - 8,000 acres were burned annually prior to the arrival of loggers in the mid-1800s within the Lake Tahoe Basin. In order for forest managers to return to this natural fire regime the amount of prescribed fire in the Basin would need to increase substantially
. According to the U.S. Forest Service's Effects of Fuels Management in the Tahoe Basin: A Scientific Literature Review Final Report, one of the objectives for fuels management within the Lake Tahoe Basin is to reestablish a more natural fire regime and to restore natural ecological processes, such as low intensity fires within forests. However, the Tahoe Basin's fuel management programs are behind in this restoration. The CWPP states that from 2008-2013, 9,700 acres
of prescribed burns took place due to limited conditions.
Conditions must be favorable for prescribed burns to be conducted. A burn plan is a legal document that must be developed and approved prior to any prescribed fire activity and is critical for implementation. The plan communicates the complexities of the burn to all who are participating. Will Harling, Director of the Mid Klamath Watershed council states that "They include goals, objectives, resources, equipment, prescription, go/or no go checklists, ignition patterns, fire behavior, a communications plan, predicted weather, briefing statements, safety measures, medical plans, identify responsibilities, and the post- burn plan."
A variety of environmental conditions are considered prior to burning including wind, relative humidity, temperature, and airmass stability. These conditions interact and contribute to fuel moisture, which is critical to a successful burn. If the conditions do not fall within the range described within the prescription for the burn, the burn will not be conducted. As conditions can change throughout the day, a designated burn boss and designated weather reporter are appointed to monitor conditions every hour to ensure the actions are taking place within the defined limits described in the burn plan. If the conditions change, then the prescribed burn may be extinguished early. If conditions are favorable and fire management resources available, another project that falls under the scope may be started.
Typically, winter provides ideal conditions for prescribed burns. Compared to summer and fall, winter provides cooler and more humid air temperatures that prolong favorable conditions over several days. Snow as ground cover in winter allows greater control of creep between piles. An estimated 35-40 % of prescribed burns take place between December and March. According to Lisa Herron, Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Forest Service, "Implementing prescribed fire operations during the winter months allows crews to burn in areas where conditions may not be suitable for burning during the rest of the year. For example, crews may be able to burn areas with heavy fuel loading in the winter that they were not able to burn when conditions were drier or hotter." The U.S. Forest Service hopes to complete 1,500-2,000 acres of prescribed fire before the start of the official fire season in the spring.
The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team's
is a great resource that displays who is conducting prescribed burns and where they are located within the Lake Tahoe Basin. Stay informed and know whether the smoke you see is a prescribed burn or not.
The Tahoe RCD and our partners would like wish you a safe and Happy Holiday!
Together, our actions can make a difference and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire!
Are your Holiday Decorations Fire Safe?
Article written by Beth Kenna, North Tahoe Fire Protection District's Public Information Officer
decorating is a tradition in homes all over the world, but do you
know how to safely decorate your home? The following are tips from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to help keep your home safe from fire this holiday
- Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant and flame retardant.
- Keep candles away from decorations and other things that can burn. According to the NFPA, two of every five home decoration fires are started by candles, and nearly half of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. Blow out lit candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Turn off all light strings and decorations before leaving home or going to bed.
- Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
- Replace any strings of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer's instructions for number of light strands to connect.
- Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords don't get damaged.
- Keep decorations away from windows and doors.
When it comes to Holiday entertaining, there are also some tips to keep in mind:
- Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
- Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
- Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
- Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
- Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.
- Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Wet cigarette butts with water before discarding.
DIY - Making your home fire safe
These simple actions can make a world of difference in fire safety
- Visible Address for Fire service - Make sure that your address has large, reflective numbers for fire personnel to see in case of an emergency.
Check your smoke detectors to make sure they are working -
Every 10 years you should replace your smoke detectors. Make sure that the detectors are up to date and working.
Prep your emergency toolkit
- By preparing your evacuation toolkit you will have all your favorite things ready to go in the event of a catastrophic wildfire.
Living With Fire
has more detailed tips. Click
to see what they recommend!