Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev. – August 19, 2019 – The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT), a coalition of Lake Tahoe federal, tribal, state, and local entities, today issued a comprehensive Forest Action Plan to protect the health and safety of the Lake Tahoe Basin’s forests, communities, and visitors. Fire safety and forest health is the major theme of tomorrow’s 23rd annual Lake Tahoe Summit, where host Senator Dianne Feinstein will be joined by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, and other elected officials and Basin leaders.
“The Lake Tahoe Basin is extremely vulnerable to wildfire,” said North Tahoe Fire Protection District Fire Chief Michael Schwartz. “To protect our residents and visitors and the health of our forests, this Plan is focused at every level: from our homes and businesses to our shoreline communities, evacuation routes, powerline corridors, and scenic ridgetops.”
The Forest Action Plan integrates the work of nearly two dozen conservation, land management, and fire agencies. It is built upon a three-tiered strategy: 1) expand the pace and scale of restoration through landscape-scale projects that cover all ownerships; 2) build greater capacity for these efforts by expanding the workforce, strategically using prescribed fire, and supporting markets for biomass and small diameter trees; and 3) leverage new technology, including high resolution satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to map forest structure and wildfire risk.
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“Our forests in the Tahoe Basin are under increasing stress from our changing environment. In response, agencies have undertaken and are implementing landscape-scale initiatives to restore forest health and increase resilience around the Basin,” said Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais. “This Forest Action Plan has galvanized our continued commitment to increasing the pace and scale of restoration across all ownerships.”
The TFFT was established in the aftermath of the Angora Fire, which destroyed 254 homes in 2007. The TFFT partners have since thinned or safely burned with prescribed fire over 57,000 acres in the wildland-urban interface–those areas where homes are located near or among lands prone to wildland fire. The key goals of the Plan are to complete work on the remaining 22,000 most vulnerable acres, to achieve and maintain defensible space for nearly 100 percent of homes and businesses, and to improve the health and resilience of the Basin’s forested landscapes.