Fall Color in the Lake Tahoe Basin

The Lake Tahoe Basin and nearby Hope Valley are great places to experience fall foiliage.  Follow the link above to see photos and suggestions for the best areas to view fall color at Lake Tahoe.

Fall Fish Festival

The Fall Fish Festival focuses on a variety of fish species that live in Lake Tahoe and its rivers. In addition to the Kokanee, these species include the federally threatened Lahontan cutthroat trout and little-know smaller fish, such as speckled dace. The visitor center is located three miles north of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. Join the fun and participate in this free family event which has become one of the most fascinating educational and wildlife viewing events in Northern California.

The state of California's trees

Urban street trees provide critical services by lowering energy use, storing carbon, inducing air pollutant uptake, intercepting rainfall and increasing property values, among other benefits. Although the number of street trees in California has increased from 5.9 million in 1988 to 9.1 million in 2014, street tree density has declined by 30% as cities added more streets than trees. The total annual benefits provided by street trees are $1 billion. For every dollar spent on tree care, $5.82 in benefits is returned. Visit the link above to read more.

South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition

Yesterday, local students from the Lake Tahoe Unified School District learned about the cultural history and environment of Lake Tahoe during the Children's Forest program at the Tallac Historic Site. The program is coordinated by the South Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (STEEC), which is a collaborative network of over 20 local agencies and organizations. Follow the link above to check out the video.

U.S. Forest Service: responding and adapting to wildland fire

The loss of property and firefighters during wildfires are a reminder of the challenges we face in reducing the risks associated with large, unpredictable wildfires. Climate change, drought, insect infestations, changing land-use patterns, and other factors have contributed to increases in the complexity and in the numbers of wildfires across the United States. Visit http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2014/stories/04/responding-wildland-fire.shtml to read more.

Skyrocketing Fire Costs

Over the past twenty years, a changing climate, population growth near forests and rangelands, and the buildup of brush and other fuels have dramatically increased the severity of wildfires and the damage that they cause to our natural lands and communities. Year after year, fire seasons grow longer and longer, destroying homes, threatening critical infrastructure and the watersheds that provide clean drinking water to millions of people. Between 1980 and 2011, the average annual number of fires on Federal land more than doubled, and the total area burned annually tripled. Even as fire seasons have grown, the way we pay to fight these fires remains unchanged – and fundamentally broken. Follow the link above to read more.

Return to the Summit Video

The Eldorado National Forest (NF), in cooperation with El Dorado County and the State of California, placed a California State Historical Marker at the site of the 1968 Olympic training facility at Echo Summit on the Eldorado National Forest. A celebration entitled “Return to the Summit” honored the site where U.S. Olympic Men’s Track and Field athletes broke four world records during the Olympic trials at a tumultuous time in our nation’s history. Follow the link above to watch the video. 

Fire is indispensable for healthy and productive forests

Fire is so important in the Sierra Nevada that it can be seen as medicine for ailing forests. However, as with most medicines, too large a dose is harmful. Past fire exclusion and timber harvest practices have resulted in significant changes to the structure and composition of many western coniferous forests, and they are often much denser and less resilient to drought, insects, disease and wildfire. Follow the link above to read more.

Forest Service smokejumpers part of Disney magic with new animated film

The U.S. Forest Service and movie-goers have seen agency-managed lands as the backdrop for dozens of motion pictures over the years, but this year it is participating in the magic of Hollywood in a slightly different way – as a creative consultant for the soon-to-be-released “Planes: Fire and Rescue.” Visit the link above to read more.

The first step to help avoid wildland fire disaster is acting wisely

“People who live in a wildland-urban interface often forget or disregard the wildland fire cycles and dangers,” said Tom Harbour, Fire and Aviation Management director. “We need homeowners to understand that they can make a difference by making their homes defensible from wildfire.”  Follow the link above to read more.

Wild mustangs help Forest Service wilderness rangers do their jobs

Horses are used all over U.S. Forest Service lands, especially in the west to get work done on trails and in wilderness areas. What’s interesting about the Blackrock Ranger Station on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming is the way they get such specialized horses. Wild mustangs are rounded up on Bureau of Land Management property, and then given to the Forest Service for free as weanlings or yearlings. Those horses are then trained to work in the wilderness. Folow the link above to read more.

Alpine OHV trail success story in Lake Tahoe area

The Blackwood Canyon OHV trail on the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is a good case study of a successful 20+ year old joint project between the U.S. Forest Service and the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division’s grant program.

Forest Service Launches New Wildland Fire Website

The Forest Service launched a new wildland fire website with insightful information to help you learn about all these Forest Service activities from before, during and after a wildland fire. You’ll read about how the Forest Service feeds its firefighters, how they live while in fire camp and about the state-of-the-art technology they use while protecting natural resources and communities.

Life’s a Hoot for Owlets Saved from Wildfire

As the flames from the recent Carstens Fire in the Sierra National Forest approached, two baby Western screech owls huddled abandoned in a nest. Then, without warning, the tree that was their home came crashing down to the ground. Firefighters working to contain the quickly-spreading fire had cut down the tree to build a fire control line. Too young to fly, the baby owls tumbled to the ground and onto a roadway. Read more by following the link above

What's the deal with all those brown trees on Spooner Summit?

Scorch resulting from prescribed fires is expected and accepted. Trees can survive with as little as 10 to 30 percent green needles remaining in the canopy. Some trees will die, and this is also expected and accepted. Often, the trees that succumb to scorch are the less fire-resistant species, such as white fir. Many of the trees should green back up within the next year to two years, helped by the thinning we’ve done there, which decreases competition for water, sunlight and nutrients. View photos and read more by following the link listed above.