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Truckee and Sierraville, Calif. April 29, 2019 – The Truckee and Sierraville Ranger Districts on the Tahoe National Forest will conduct prescribed fire activity this spring to reduce the build-up of hazardous fuels and to restore forest ecosystems. Planned prescribed fire activities include first and second entry understory burns and pile burning. On the Sierraville Ranger District, current planned underburn projects include 200-500 acres in the Lewis Mill Guard Station/Smithneck Road area and the Little Truckee Summit area.  On the Truckee Ranger District, planned underburn projects include 100-200 acres and 100 additional acres of pile burning near Sagehen Field Station.

Last year’s fire season is a reminder of the importance of prescribed fire –especially in the fire adaptive ecosystems that surround Sierra Nevada communities. Hazardous fuels reduction, through prescribed burning, is one of the most effective and cost-efficient treatments available that can alter wildfire behavior, increase wildfire suppression success, and generate forest health.

Prescribed fire activities are only implemented when conditions are favorable to meet planned objectives and minimizing negative impacts. Fuels specialists monitor temperature, humidity, winds, and fuel moisture conditions to evaluate when prescribed fire activities will be conducted. Smoke management plans are developed in accordance with the California Air Resources Board. These management plans include coordination with regional air quality districts to minimize impacts to local communities.

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Smoke will be present in and around the prescribed fire areas. Light smoke is likely to persist near prescribed areas for several days after ignition. Smoke may settle into lower elevations at night and will typically lift out of the area during normal daytime heating. Burn personnel monitor all prescribed fires regularly for burning and smoke-dispersal conditions in order to mitigate concerns as they arise. People who are sensitive to smoke may choose to take precautions to minimize its effects, including staying indoors with windows and doors closed while smoke is in the area. Smoke produced during a prescribed fire is usually less intense and of shorter duration than that of a wildfire.

For more information, or to receive prescribed fire notifications via e-mail, call or email the following contacts: Truckee -Linda Ferguson, District Fuels Specialist, at (530) 587-3558 or linda.ferguson@usda.gov. Sierraville -Ruby Burks, District Fuels Specialist, at (530) 994-3401 or ruby.burks@usda.gov. If you would like to learn more about prescribed fire vs. wildfire, please visit https://smokeybear.com/en/about-wildland-fire/benefits-of-fire/prescribed-fires.