This is a photo looking northwest from Meeks Bay. The Smoke is coming from the west end of Sugar Pine State Park. I didn’t stop to take the more dramatic picture as I was travelling south on 89.
Here is the email I received because I subscribe to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit’s prescribed burn email notifications…
Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team
October 17, 2018 For Immediate Release
Prescribed fire operations today on Tahoe’s West and South Shores
Contact: U.S. Forest Service, Lisa Herron (530) 543-2815
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Weather and conditions permitting, California State Parks and the U.S. Forest Service may conduct prescribed fire operations in Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore and near Twin Peaks on the South Shore beginning today, October 17, 2018. Smoke will likely be present. A map with project locations and details is available for viewing at http://www.tahoefft.org. To receive prescribed fire notifications, send an email to email@example.com.
Prescribed fire operations are conducted whenever conditions allow to reduce excess vegetation that can feed unwanted wildfires. Planned fires now reduce the threat of unplanned fires later, which helps provide increased community protection. Fire is a natural process in the Sierra Nevada and helps keep our forests healthy by minimizing the spread of insects and disease, recycling nutrients back into the soil and promoting improved habitat for diverse vegetation and wildlife.
Fall and winter bring cooler temperatures and precipitation, which are ideal for conducting prescribed fire operations. Each operation follows a specialized burn plan, which considers temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke. This information is used to decide when and where to burn.
Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions. Prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by unwanted wildland fires.
Agencies coordinate closely with local county and state air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions carefully prior to prescribed fire ignitions. They wait for favorable conditions that will carry smoke up and disperse it away from smoke sensitive areas. Crews also conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to verify how effectively materials are consumed and how smoke will travel.
Before prescribed fire operations are conducted, agencies post road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, send email notifications and update the local fire information line maintained by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit at 530-543-2816. The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team gives as much advance notice as possible before burning, but some operations may be conducted on short notice due to the small window of opportunity for conducting these operations
Fall brings cooler temperatures, changing colors and prescribed burns by the forest service.
Some of those fires are happening right now on 125 acres of federal and state land near the Rubicon Trail. Mostly, well south of the trail.
Here is a link to the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit about the projects:
“C” is Sugar Pine State Park – 54 acres
“E” is El Dorado County piles – 6 acres
“A” is DL Bliss State Park – 65
Just an FYI if you’re headed near the trail in the next few weeks.
On Wednesday, August the 29th, I lead a tour of the Placer County portion of the trail for agency representatives responsible for maintenance on the Rubicon Trail. We had 23 people, nine rigs, one side-by-side and one quad. We had nine different agencies and groups represented.
There are plans in the works for El Dorado County, specifically Vickie Sander, to take over maintenance of the Placer County end of the trail. This would be done with a ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ (MOU). There is talk that ALL the agencies would sign on: El Dorado County, Placer County, Eldorado National Forest, Tahoe National Forest, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, CA State Parks Central Valley Water Authority and Lahontan Water Authority.
This would streamline our efforts and get everyone on the same page. Funding for the Placer side should increase but matching funds could be tricky for the first few years. If you do any kind of maintenance on the Placer side (get permission first) document your work and the names and time spent for each volunteer. And turn them in to Placer County. Those hours add up.
We gathered at the Tahoma staging area around 8am. The safety and trip briefing were given at 8:30. The discussion started at 9am and by 9:15 we were on the trail.
Too many details to get in to here but we talked about everything from paving the staging area (May 2019) to work on hardening the ‘soft’ area west of Miller Creek.
All the agency reps stepped up, made constructive comments and sounded very positive about moving forward. The success of El Dorado in funding and work done on the trail had everyone leaving with very positive hopes.
FOTR should have a few smaller projects to be done before the snow flies. There will be more tours and we’ll need drivers. The Spring will bring a very early FOTR “Shovel Brigade” to clear the trail of major snow drifts to keep users on the trail. Spring tours are a must to see how and where the water currently flows during the spring melt.
Sorry for no pictures but I was talking most of the time.
We stopped a number of times on the way in to discuss current issues. Lunch at Observation was provided by the Rubicon Trail Foundation. We turned around near ‘Backdoor’ around 2:30. By 5pm we were back at the staging area. No break downs, no body got stuck, no body got hurt. It was a great day.
Again, thank you to my volunteer drivers, though most of the agencies brought transportation.
This time of year, we expect that enough people have been out and about on our public trails that any tree clearing should be done. So, why carry a bulky, smelly chainsaw and spare fuel?
I agree. But just this last weekend, we had a wind event that had sustained 50 mph winds over the sierras. The odds of coming across a tree blocking your way increased dramatically.
Now it’s not as big a deal on your way in to find a tree across the trail. Remember, Turn Around, Don’t Go Around. You could just turn around and find another place to go enjoy the mountains. But what if you’re on your way out. You can’t turn around because you need to get out. You won’t drive off trail to go around the tree because that’s really bad.
Here’s my solution:
The Silky Katana Boy. It’s larger than you think at almost four feet long!
The blade length is 20″. you need two hands to use this monster. The teeth are very aggressive.
It folds up in to the provided pouch to about 27″.
It’s not going to clear a 30″ tree in two minutes. But for most of the trees you’ll come across, it will do the job. Even if you only score one side half way in, you could pull the tree with your vehicle and break the tree and get past it.
It’s not bulky and it doesn’t require fuel. If I’m not carrying my chainsaw, I always carry this one.
Okay, the downside. It’s a little pricey. I just looked on Amazon and it runs about $135.
If you don’t know the name, maybe you’ll recognize them as the R.O.C.
They want your input! And they’re coming to you to get it. Keep reading.
The ROC is El Dorado County’s effort to bring people together to better manage the Rubicon Trail. Vickie Sanders runs the show. She’s been making things happen on the Rubicon since the early days of FOTR. No one has done more for the Rubicon Trail than Vickie Sanders, no one.
The ROC meets every third Thursday of the month at the El Dorado County offices off Forni Road in Placerville at 8:30am. It’s great for those in the area of the western entrance to the Rubicon but not so convenient for the rest of us in Truckee, Tahoe City, Reno, Carson, Auburn, ETC.
Well that’s about to change. El Dorado County is taking the ROC meetings on the road.
We will be holding several meetings of the Rubicon Oversight Committee at various locations in an effort to get the education and coordination message out to a broader group of interested parties. Please pass this information along. Let me know if you have any questions.
WE ARE TAKING THE ROC ON THE ROAD
Rubicon Oversight Committee (ROC)
- To educate a larger group of users on the educational program for the Rubicon Trail
- To discuss maintenance efforts and how we work on the El Dorado side of the trail
- To help facilitate maintenance activities in Placer County
- To get more clubs, groups and individuals involved
- To provide a holistic approach to the Rubicon
AGENCIES THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE:
- Tahoe National Forest
- Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit
- Eldorado National Forest
- State Parks OHV Division
- Placer County Sheriff’s Office
- El Dorado County Parks Division
MEETING DATES, LOCATIONS AND TIMES:
May 30, 2018 – 6:30 p.m.
North Tahoe Event Center
8318 North Lake Blvd.
Kings Beach, CA 96143
June 4, 2018 – 6:30 p.m.
Murphy House at the Auburn State Recreation Area
501 El Dorado Street
Auburn, CA 95603
(El Dorado Street is HWY 193/49 as you head out of Auburn south towards the river crossing)
June 27, 2018 – 6:30 p.m.
California Conservation Center
1949 Apache Ave
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150
This is most likely due to the rumors that El Dorado County is looking to sign an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) that would allow El Dorado County to manage the Placer County portion of the Rubicon Trail.
For the most part, this would be a very good thing. Vickie and El Dorado County has done wonders to mange, maintain and honestly, to keep the trail from being closed.
Placer County has been reluctant to step up their game and put more effort in to managing the Rubicon Trail. Placer has done things for the trail over the years but more needs to be done. El Dorado has demonstrated the willingness and ability to do just that.
My concerns are the actually being addressed by this mobile meeting plan. Over the years, the ROC has made many major decisions regarding the Rubicon Trail. If you weren’t in the room that day, you didn’t get a say in the decision. I drove to ROC meetings in Placerville, from Sparks NV, many, many times, as the Placer side user representative. It’s a 2.5 hour drive each way for a two hour meeting. It got old.
Once I stopped attending the meetings, I felt out of the loop. There were no efforts to continue to reach out to people not in the room. Even being on the email list for “all” things ROC, they didn’t reach out. The ROC made decisions that effected the Tahoe side of the trail and yet they didn’t reach out for input prior to the decision and implementation.
I am encouraged by this effort to reach out to the “other” side.
Let’s let Vickie, El Dorado County and Placer County know that the Tahoe side users care about the trail and we are willing to work with anyone and everyone that wants to better manage the Rubicon Trail.