May is Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Month
April 30, 2014
LAKE TAHOE — The month of May has been designated as Wildfire Awareness Month in the Lake Tahoe Basin. This year's theme is "Prepare Your Home for Wildfire," according to a news release from the U.S. Forest Service, with a focus on creating and sustaining "fire adapted communities."
A fire adapted community is a community located in a fire-prone area that requires little assistance from firefighters during a wildfire, according to USFS.
"Residents of these communities recognize the responsibility of living in a high fire-hazard area (and) possess the knowledge and skills to prepare their homes and property to survive wildfire, evacuate early, safely and effectively, and survive, if trapped by wildfire," according to the release.
Considering current drought conditions and the potential for a severe wildfire season at Lake Tahoe, USFS and Tahoe fire districts chose to make Wildfire Awareness Week this year encompass an entire month.
"The Forest Service encourages homeowners in the Lake Tahoe Basin to work with their local fire districts to learn more about defensible space," USFS Fire Chief Kit Bailey said in a statement. "As members of a forest community, planning ahead is vital to the survival of our homes and neighborhoods. Wildfire Awareness Month is an excellent time to prepare your home and neighborhood for the next wildfire."
According to USFS, things homeowners can do to become more fire adapted include:
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• Talk to fire districts about how to prepare for a wildfire, situational awareness, when to evacuate, and what communities should expect during a response.
• Contact fire districts to conduct a property risk assessment.
• Create a plan to address issues in the defensible space zone around your property.
• Develop a personal and family preparedness plan.
• Support land management agencies by learning about wildfire risk reduction efforts, such as using prescribed fire to manage local landscapes.
• Contact local planning/zoning offices to find out if your home is in a high wildfire risk area and if there are specific local or county ordinances to follow.
• Work with homeowner associations to identify regulations that incorporate proven preparedness landscaping, home design and building material.
"In the Tahoe Basin, the question is not if, but when another wildfire will occur," Mark Regan, president of the Lake Tahoe Regional Fire Chiefs Association," said in a statement. "We would like to take this month to seriously encourage people to prepare themselves, their neighborhood and their homes for wildfire."
For information about Wildfire Awareness Month and wildfire preparedness, visit livingwithfire.info/tahoe/.