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Widespread prescribed fire operations continue around Lake Tahoe

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Members of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT), which includes local, state and federal agencies, will continue prescribed fire operations this week in numerous locations around Lake Tahoe.  Weather permitting, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District and U.S. Forest Service operations will take place on Brockway Summit above Kings Beach, from Logan Shoals to Spooner Summit, on Kingsbury Grade near Edgewood Creek, the south end of Fallen Leaf Lake, above Pioneer Trail off Fountain Place Road and near Big Meadow off Hwy 89 South.  Smoke may be present.  A map with project locations and details is available for viewing at  To receive prescribed fire notifications, send an email to

Whenever weather and conditions allow, prescribed fire operations are conducted by the TFFT to reduce overgrown vegetation, which decreases the severity of future wildland fires and protects communities.  After nearly a century of fire exclusion in the Sierra Nevada, prescribed fire operations also re-introduce fire back onto the landscape, which helps restore vital ecosystem functions and improve forest health and resiliency.

Winter typically brings cooler temperatures and precipitation, which favor prescribed burning.  Each prescribed fire operation follows a specialized prescribed fire burn plan that considers temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke.  This information is used to decide when and where to burn.

The TFFT coordinates closely with local county and state air pollution control districts and monitors weather conditions carefully prior to prescribed fire ignitions.  They wait for favorable conditions that will carry smoke up and out of the basin.  Crews also conduct test burns before igniting larger areas, to verify how effectively fuels are consumed and how smoke will travel.  When conditions meet the prescription, state and local air pollution control districts issue a burn permit allowing operations to proceed.

Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions.  Keep in mind that prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by a wildland fire.  Smoke sensitive individuals are encouraged to reduce their exposure by staying indoors if they are in a smoke affected area.

When prescribed fire operations are conducted, the TFFT posts road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, sends email notifications and updates the local fire information line at 530-543-2816.  The TFFT gives as much advance notice as possible before burning, but some operations may be conducted on short notice.

For information about smoke management tips, visit

About the author

Charlie REC magazine - Charlie Pankey ~ Publisher

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