As part of the Carson Ranger District Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project, forest service fire crews will begin prescribed fire under-burning near Grover’s Hot Spring State Park in the Markleeville area off of Hot Springs Road located in Alpine County starting this week, through April, weather and fuel conditions permitting.
“Prescribed fire is an efficient way of removing woody debris, providing ecosystem benefits, and reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and risk to firefighters in the event of a large fire,” said Steve Howell, district fuels specialist. “This burn will also improve forest health and wildlife habitat.”
Residents can expect to see some brown needles on the lower portions of tree crowns following burning activities and some tree mortality. These effects are all part of the objective of the burn. Trees with brown needles on the lower sections of the crown following the burn are not dead; these brown needles will fall off over time. The objective is to allow for fire to naturally prune the tree’s crown, lessening the chance of mortality in a large wildfire.
Fire crews are currently monitoring weather conditions to identify time frames that would be suitable for effective prescribed burning. Approximately 20 acres of understory vegetation will be treated this spring using hand crews and engines. Ignition is expected to take approximately two days, with weather and fuels permitting. Prescribed fire notices have been posted near homes in the project area notifying of the upcoming prescribed burn. Visitors and residents can expect to see smoke when the burns are occurring. Markleeville area visitors may experience travel delays near the burn.
Forest Service fuels management crews may continue fire operations around the Lake Tahoe Basin on Monday. Activity may continue through the week and possibly the weekend if weather, staffing, and conditions allow. Operations may take place on Spooner Summit on the East Shore and in the Luther Pass Campground off of Highway 89 near South Lake Tahoe. On the West Shore, operations will take place off of Tahoe Park Heights Drive in Ward Canyon, the west side of Highway 89 near Tahoma, and near D.L. Bliss State Park.