On June 2, the following events will be held in Incline Village as part of Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week.

1. Five Years After the Angora Fire – Lessons for Incline Village and Crystal Bay

What: The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District invites you to a presentation and community forum followed by a fire demonstration and a BBQ lunch.

When: The presentation and fire demonstration run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The BBQ starts immediately after and ends at 12:30 p.m.

Where: Incline Village Fire Station

863 Tanager Street

Incline Village, NV

Click here for more information

 

2. Fire and Fuels Walking Tour of Wood Creek

What: The North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District invites you to take a walking tour of prescribed fire and fuels reduction work completed in Wood Creek.

When: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Meet at the intersection of Barbara Street and Jennifer Street

Incline Village, NV

Special Considerations: This is a 1.4 mile, round-trip hiking tour along a gentle grade. Please bring sturdy shoes. Transportation from the Incline Fire Station at 863 Tanager Street to the rendezvous point is available.

Click here for more information

 

3. Landscaping for Fire Safety and Wildlife

What: The Nevada Tahoe Conservation District and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District invite you to a class about reducing potential fire hazards in your yard while maintaining wildlife habitat, how to identify and prune high fire-risk shrubs, and good plant choices for the Lake Tahoe Basin. There will also be a pruning demonstration for those do-it-yourselfers eager to learn. Free wildflower seeds will also be available!

When: 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: North Lake Tahoe Demonstration Garden

Corner of Tahoe Blvd and Country Club Drive

Incline Village, NV

Click here for more information and a map

 

The days, weeks, and months following a wildfire may be very difficult, depending upon your loss.  For some, it may be cleaning-up ash and removing “smoke-smell.” Others less fortunate may need to replace all their possessions and possibly contend with the loss of a loved one.

A Topaz Ranch Estates home destroyed by wildfire. Photo Courtesy of the Reno Gazette-Journal

The emotional trauma of a wildfire may be something you never forget. It can be especially challenging for children. Children often perceive things as worse than they really are. Be sure to talk to your kids about the fire and its effects. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for counseling assistance from the Red Cross or other disaster relief organization.

These “After the Fire” recommendations are presented in three categories: Before You Enter the Home, Inside the House and Landscape Care.

Before You Enter the Home

  • If you were evacuated, contact your insurance agent or company to let them know how you can be reached. Keep receipts for temporary living expenses, like motel room and meals.
  • Do not return to your home until re-entry is permitted by law enforcement officials. Do not cross a barricade or hazard tape without permission.
  • Be careful when going back into your neighborhood.
    • Charred trees and power poles may be unstable.
    • Fires may flare up without warning.
    • Live power lines may be on the ground.
    • Watch out for ash pits — holes created by burned trees filled with hot ash. You or your pets can be seriously burned if you fall into an ash pit.
  • Check to see if your gas and electric utilities are working properly. If you smell gas, shut off the gas supply at the main valve, leave immediately, and call the gas company. If the electricity is not working, check to see if the main breaker is “on.” If it is and there is no power, call your power company.
  • Your house and yard may be covered in ash and may still have live embers present. Wear only cotton, wool, or leather clothing. Wear long pants, a long sleeved shirt or a jacket, and boots. Wearing a dust mask will be especially important.
  • Check for and extinguish any burning embers on the roof, in rain gutters, on the porch, or elsewhere on your property.

Inside the House

  • Check for embers and smoke in the attic and in the crawl space. Check every day for several days.
  • Start a list of things that have been damaged. Damage can occur from fire, smoke, water, and chemicals. Take photographs. Don’t throw away damaged belongings or make repairs until you’ve talked to your insurance company.
  • Do not eat food, drink beverages, or take medicine exposed to heat, smoke, or soot.
  • Smoke can infiltrate cloth and other materials. Using one to two cups of white vinegar with each load of wash can help rid clothing of the “smoke smell.” Commercial cleaning may be necessary for your drapes, upholstery, and carpet.

Landscape Care

  • Whether fire damaged trees will survive depends on several factors, including their species, their condition before the fire, and how badly they were scorched. A green or white, moist cambium layer beneath the bark is a good indicator that the tree will survive. Also, if most of the buds are still green, moist, and flexible, the tree has a good chance of survival. Sometimes it is hard to tell if a tree will survive. In those cases, it may be worthwhile to wait until next spring.
  • Sometimes after a wildfire, the soil itself can begin to repel water — to become “hydrophobic.” If water won’t soak into the ground, try loosening the soil with a rake. A thin layer of straw on top of the soil can help it absorb moisture.
  • Irrigate stressed plants as soon as you can after the fire. Water the ground under trees for the full width of their drip line — the circumference of their canopy of branches — and a few feet farther. Keep watering until the soil is moist to a depth off 12-15 inches.
  • Fire stressed trees are vulnerable to beetle attack. Look for pink-to-red colored pitch on the branches. Beetle infested trees should be cut-down and removed.
  • Soil erosion becomes a major concern after wildfire. Before the fire, fallen leaves and branches and plants with shallow roots helped control erosion. But that was all consumed by the fire. If the soil won’t absorb water, it will become even more vulnerable. Several techniques are available for controlling erosion, including reseeding, the use of straw mulch, and felling damaged trees across a slope. Planting of conservation grasses like crested wheatgrass can reduce the fire threat and help control erosion.
  • After the fire, be on the look out for unfamiliar plants. They could be invasive weeds like Russian knapweed, yellow star thistle, and medusa head.

For more information about what to do after the fire, contact your local Cooperative Extension or Nevada Division of Forestry office or visit LivingWithFire.info.

By:

Ed Smith, Natural Resource Specialist

Sonya Sistare, Living With Fire Project Coordinator

 

http://www.livingwithfire.info/

 

What are Fire Adapted Communities?

Fire Adapted Communities are neighborhoods located in a fire-prone area that require little assistance from firefighters during a wildfire. Residents of Fire Adapted Communities accept responsibility for living in a high fire-hazard area. They also possess the knowledge and skills to prepare their homes and property to survive wildfire and they know how to evacuate early, safely and effectively.

Focus of the Webinar Series

University of California Cooperative Extension and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, in collaboration with Lake Tahoe Basin fire agencies, will conduct a series of webinars on topics that will provide residents the knowledge and skills to create Fire Adapted Communities in the Lake Tahoe Basin. This webinar series will be held in conjunction with Lake Tahoe Basin Wildfire Awareness Week, which runs May 26 to June 3.

The goal of the webinar series is to empower residents to take responsibility for reducing the wildfire risk to their own homes, families and communities. The experts presenting in this webinar series will:

  • Provide a broad overview of the wildfire risk-reduction strategies used in the Lake Tahoe Basin
  • Explain the principles of effective defensible space and conservation landscaping in the Lake Tahoe Basin
  • Describe methods that can be used to reduce the ignitability of homes in fire-hazard areas, specifically in the Lake Tahoe Basin
  • Discuss how Lake Tahoe Basin residents can work with their fire departments, neighborhoods and communities to reduce the wildfire threat
  • Educate on how to prepare for emergencies and how to evacuate when a wildfire threatens
  • Outline the fire risk reduction activities being conducted in wildlands by the US Forest Service

Who Should Attend?

This webinar series offers an education on a variety of important topics for homeowners and residents of the Lake Tahoe Basin, visitors, land managers, local decision makers and planners, regulators, and members of the firefighting community. 

Webinar Schedule

The following six webinars will be offered during Lake Tahoe Basin Wildfire Awareness Week. All sessions will be held from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. and will be recorded and archived for later viewing.

Session One: Defensible space in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Friday, May 25

  • How to create defensible space and why it’s important – Ed Smith, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
  • How to integrate defensible space with Best Management Practices – Mike Vollmer, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
  • How to receive a free consultation on installing Best Management Practices on your property – Courtney Walker, Tahoe Resource Conservation District

Session Two: Preparing for emergencies and evacuating during a wildfire – Tuesday, May 29

  • Following the Preparing Residents in Disaster Evacuations (PRIDE) program recommendations to prepare for emergencies and safely and effectively evacuating during a wildfire – Mark Regan, North Lake Tahoe FPD
  • Information needs and emergency notification methods – Dave Zaski, North Tahoe FPD

Session Three: Conservation landscaping in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Wednesday, May 30

  • Defensible space landscaping – Susie Kocher, University of California Cooperative Extension
  • Backyard native plants – Lesley Higgins, Nevada Tahoe Conservation District
  • How to garden in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Wendy West, Tahoe Basin Master Gardener program

Session Four: Improving home survivability during wildfire – Thursday, May 31

  • How homes are vulnerable to wildfire – Steve Quarles, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety
  • Implementing Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) building codes in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Gareth Harris, Lake Valley FPD

Session Five: US Forest Service’s role in wildfire risk reduction – Friday, June 1

  • Fire prevention in the Lake Tahoe Basin – Beth Brady, US Forest Service
  • South Shore fuels treatment projects and the stewardship permit system – Kyle Jacobsen, US Forest Service

Session Six: Working with your fire department and community – Tuesday, June 5

  • Fire department services, permits, calls from insurance companies and more – Eric Guevin, Tahoe Douglas FPD and Martin Goldberg, Lake Valley FPD
  • Motivating neighbors to create defensible space – Ann Grant, Nevada Fire Safe Council

Webinar Logistics

University of California Cooperative Extension will host the webinars. The webinars are free to attend, but participants are required to register. Click here to register. Participants will be provided a URL to access the presentations and will be able to engage presenters and other attendees by asking questions and commenting on the materials.

For more information contact Susie Kocher, University of California Cooperative Extension, at sdkocher@ucdavis.edu or (530) 542-2571 or check the webinar homepage.

For a full list of Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week activities click here.