Angora fire brought outpouring of Carson Valley donations |

Angora fire brought outpouring of Carson Valley donations

Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune Then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger finds a dumbbell in the remains of an Angora Fire home on View Circle while taking a tour of the area Wednesday afternoon.
Dan Thrift |

Carson Valley residents knew there was trouble at Lake Tahoe when the thick black plume of smoke came roiling over the Sierra on June 24, 2007.

The smoke had yet to clear before Valley residents began gathering donations to send to the 3,500 South Lake Tahoe residents displaced by the 3,100-acre Angora fire, which destroyed 254 homes.

Saturday marked a decade since the worst fire in Lake Tahoe history, which did an estimated $160 million damage.

Valley merchants, churches and residents gathered money, clothes, gift cards, and anything else they could think of to send over the hill to help those displaced by the fire.

As part of the relief effort, nearly 2,400 toys were donated through Ashlee’s Toy Closet.

That group didn’t just include people but pets and even wildlife.

The fire was caused when embers from an illegal campfire near Seneca Pond were fanned into flames that quickly burned through the neighborhood.

Fire officials say a decade later, there is still much work to do as illegal and abandoned campfires remain the leading cause of wildfires in the basin.

“Although the Angora Fire was emotionally and economically devastating to the Lake Tahoe community, 10 years later we have learned some valuable lessons that will help move us toward a more resilient and healthy ecosystem less vulnerable to destructive wildfires,” said U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Acting Forest Supervisor, Teresa McClung. “Local, state, and federal agencies and partners will continue to work together to reduce wildfire risks and provide education that will support Fire Adapted Communities around the lake.”

After the Angora Fire, a bi-state commission developed recommendations to reduce the risk of wildfire in the basin.

As a result, crews have removed hazardous fuels on more than 48,000 acres of forest in the basin.

About 1,100 acres of forest have been replanted in the fire area and nearly a half-mile of stream channel has been restored.

The fire resulted in the formation of the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team in 2008 by 20 agencies in the Tahoe Basin to implement fuels reduction projects and encourage fire safety.