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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
The Eldorado national Forest has started fire restrictions as of July 14th.
The Tahoe National Forest has not yet posted restrictions but last year it was the 25th, the year before the 11th. Check the TNF website before you go. It is the users responsibility to know what restrictions are in effect.
Fire Permits are free from any forest office or even online.
FYI, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit does not have fire restrictions by date. No fires are allowed outside official Forest Service fire pits and then only in official Forest Service campsites.
Don’t be that person!
So, yesterday (11/9/16) was a busy day.
I had a 30 minute meeting at 10am with the LTBMU to discuss updates to the new map for the staging area. I got out of that 30 minute meeting at 10:50am. Just enough time to make my 11am meeting with the new Lake Tahoe West Restoration Partnership.
Short story there, this is yet another group formed to ‘restore’ a part of our forest. I’m not yet sure who is funding this effort or why this section of forest was picked. But, Amy Granat of CORVA asked me to be a part of this discussion due to my local OHV knowledge. In order to get an interview with the group, I had to be ‘officially’ affiliated with some recognized group. So, CORVA made me a ‘Field Representative’:
While in the meeting with Lake Tahoe West, the LTBMU texted me to ask if I had time to meet at the Rubicon staging area to discuss ‘things’. Instead of driving over 50 and up 395 to get home, I went back up 89 to the staging area.
On the drive north, I took a few pictures of the recent Emerald Bay Fire. This is just south of Emerald Bay. The first shot is looking south. You can see the open areas near Camp Richardson in the background.
The Forest Service crews were out in strength dropping trees at the edge of the highway, putting down ground cloth and booms to prevent the coming storms from washing off the topsoil and then spraying with that green compound that promotes new growth.
At the staging area, Mike, Jacob and I discussed the sign, the surface of the parking area, signs, overflow parking, etc.
Then Mike said he wanted to see Miller Lake and the turn to the Richardson Trail. Now you must take in to account what I’m driving. It’s my daily driver, a 2012 Chevy Colorado. Now it has the Z-71 package and a 2.5″ lift and 33″ tires. A vehicle quite capable of doing most of the trails in the area, but yesterday, it also had a small load of firewood in the bed and two kayaks strapped to the top.
Up the trail we went. Then Mike asked Jacob if he wanted drive the loop and go out Blackwood Canyon. The Forest Service was driving a stock Ford Ranger, no lift. There were a few puddles that had already lapped at the door of the Ranger. I couldn’t let them drive the loop alone, so with kayaks and firewood in tow, we headed to Barker Pass.
At least I had my winter stuff in the truck: shovel, come-along, tow straps, etc.
Mike was riding with me so I could bend his ear on anything that came to mind. He glanced over and asked if we had enough fuel to make it out. I explained that I normally top off my tank before venturing off-road but I didn’t have that expectation today. I said we’d be fine, but was a little worried when the ‘low fuel’ light came on.
That situation was a great opportunity to discuss the new “No Outlet Nov 6th – June 16th” sign to prevent people from getting stuck at a gate on their way out Blackwood Canyon and not being able to turn around and drive all the way back out to the Rubicon staging area be it fuel, vehicle damage, darkness, injury, etc.
We finished our day at the Middle Fork staging area discussing signage.
I ended up putting 17.4 gallons of fuel in my 19.5 gallon tank. We had plenty, but it was a long day as I didn’t get home until 5:20pm.
The last of the trio of Rubicon forests has lifted fire restrictions. The ENF lifted restrictions as of 10-8-14.
Starting 9-30-14, the Tahoe National Forest has lifted fire restrictions for the season.
Starting 10-3-14, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has lifted fire restrictions for the season.
Although I feel this is too early, fires are now allowed with the proper fire permit. Please take the time to make sure the fire is completely out. This means OUT, not just no flames. The fire pit should be cold enough to run your hands through the coals. I usually pour two five gallon buckets of water on the coals and stir as I go.
Several unattended fires have been reported over the past summer along the Rubicon. Luckily, none of them turn in to major wild fires. The only major fire was arson. We did have a few lighting started fires. The one instance I heard of where a camp fire became a wild fire was in Desolation Wilderness, and you know that wasn’t the fault of a wheeler.
Please be safe and help protect our forests.