Smoke on the water

Smoke On The Water August 2020
Tim Hauserman

Lightning caused fires set California ablaze last week, including a fire east of the Sierra Valley

town of Loyalton about 30 miles north of Truckee. Smoke from these fires has blanketed the

lake, reducing visibility and making eyes water and throats scratch. The smoke has also been a

reminder of the danger we face regarding fires within the Tahoe basin. If you are visiting Lake

Tahoe, or a homeowner, here are a few reminders to help do your part to keep us remain fire

free in the Tahoe region.


For both renters and homeowners:

First and foremost: All open fires and non-gas grills are prohibited in the Tahoe region. This

includes campfires, back yard fires, charcoal BBQS etc…Please, please follow this rule as

campfires are one of the leading causes of forest fires. A campfire that got out of control was the

cause of the Angora Fire, the most devastating fire in recent Tahoe history, that burned over 250

homes. The Washoe Fire near Tahoe City, which burned six houses before being stopped at the

edge of a major subdivision, was started by a smoldering BBQ falling onto a dry deck in heavy



Please, no fireworks, cigarettes or other burning objects outside.


Sparks caused by the use of equipment when it is dry and windy can start a fire. These include

lawn mowers, weed-eaters, chain saws, grinders, welders, tractors and trimmers. Even target

shooting or driving your vehicle on dirt roads over dry vegetation can spark a fire. All it takes is a

spark and wind to make it happen. So don’t use this equipment during high fire danger, or use

them early in the morning when the humidity is higher.


Be alert. If you see a fire, call 911. The sooner fire fighters can get to the fire, the better chance

they have of knocking it down quickly.



Have you provided defensible space for your property? If not, consider thinning all brush and

vulnerable vegetation close to your home. For information on what is involved in creating a

defensible space barrier for your home, contact your Tahoe area fire department. They also

have chipping programs and can mark trees for removal.