The Fourth of July holiday weekend is the busiest time in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Keep the following information in mind to help everyone enjoy a safe and fun holiday. Wildfire prevention is everyone’s responsibility. Possession of fireworks of any kind, including firecrackers and sparklers, is illegal in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Campfires or portable charcoal grills are not permitted on National Forest beaches or in the general forest. For those planning to barbecue on the beach, bring portable gas grills instead of charcoal. For complete information, visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/July4.
Fire restrictions will go into effect on July 1, 2015. Campfires and charcoal barbecues will be restricted to designated recreation sites, and other fire-related activities are prohibited until the end of fire season. “Illegal and unattended campfires cause over 90 percent of wildfires in the Lake Tahoe Basin,” said fire management officer, Kit Bailey. “Increased fire danger due to the ongoing drought combined with warmer and dryer weather is a big concern for the basin. Fire restrictions help reduce the possibility of human caused fires.” Learn more about fire restrictions in the basin and surrounding areas and affected recreation sites at http://www.fs.usda.gov/goto/ltbmu/FireRestrictions.
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
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Puff and Fluff, the baby owls that Forest Service firefighters saved during the Carstens Fire in June, are finally home. Terri Williams of the Fresno Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Service released the Western Screech-Owls on July 24 near where they were found over a month ago in a downed tree in the Sierra National Forest. Read more and watch video of their release by visiting the link above.
Chips the bobcat, who was only four weeks old when she was rescued last August by U.S. Forest Service firefighter Tad Hair and his Mad River Hand hotshot crew, is now 8 months old and back in bobcat territory in Lassen County, Calif.