Prescribed fire operations on hold in Tahoe Basin
October 13, 2017
Prescribed fire operations in California State Parks are being temporarily postponed as wildfires elsewhere in the state continue to consume available fire-fighting resources.
The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) had hoped to kickoff the start of the fall program Tuesday, Oct. 10. However, that plan preceded an explosion of wildfires across Northern California. Dry conditions and strong winds fueled blazes in Sonoma, Napa, Yuba and Nevada counties, as well as elsewhere in the state.
Those fires are top priority when it comes to available resources.
As such, the Tahoe team decided to postpone the prescribed operations, said Lisa Herron, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU). If conditions — pertaining to both the weather and resources — permit, prescribed operations could begin in the coming week, Herron added.
A new date has not been set.
Prescribed fire operations were planned for D.L. Bliss State Park on the southwest end of Lake Tahoe.
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According to land managers, prescribed fire operations are an important element of forest management.
"The forests in the Lake Tahoe Basin and surrounding areas are dependent on frequent low-intensity fires that removes excess vegetation and helps keep our forests healthy," John Washington, acting fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service LTBMU, said in a press release. "Prescribed fire is an important tool used by fire and land managers that mimics these low-intensity, natural fires and helps lessen the chance of devastating wildland fires, which increases the safety of our communities."
Each prescribed fire operation follows a specialized burn plan, which considers temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke, according to TFFT. This information is used to decide when and where to burn.
Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions. Prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by wildland fires.