Addressing fire danger at your North Lake Tahoe property |

Addressing fire danger at your North Lake Tahoe property

Sabrina Belleci and Don Kanare
Special to the Bonanza
Don Kanare and Sabrina Belleci, ReMax Realty

Weather conditions in late summer and autumn almost always create a recipe where fire danger is extreme due to low fuel moisture levels, low humidity, high air temperatures, and unpredictable wind conditions.

The Detwiler Fire, west of Yosemite, has pushed smoke into the Tahoe basin and it’s a reminder of the need to do defensible space work at every property. The extremely high snowfall last winter will likely create taller and denser vegetation than normal. With residential homes interfacing with the natural forest environment, the conditions this summer demand vigilance by residents and visitors alike in the Lake Tahoe basin.

Humans cause approximately 90 percent of wildfires with lightning strikes accounting for the majority of the fires created by Mother Nature. It’s important now more than ever for property owners to limb up trees, remove dead branches, and thin out the forest within prescribed guidelines to create defensible space around your structure.

Raking up the pine needles on your property (if you haven’t already done so) is a simple preventive measure that all homeowners can take. Everyone needs to be extremely careful with any type of fire or flame, as it only takes a couple of pine needles to ignite and start an out-of-control wildfire.

The devastating Angora Fire near South Lake Tahoe about 10 years ago originated at the site of a campfire. Even if someone is attending to a campfire in the woods there is so much combustible material nearby that a couple of sparks or flying embers can easily ignite the extremely dry fuel that’s in the forest.

If you have a home with a shake roof this would be a good year to consider replacing it with one made of metal or asphalt composite materials. The vast majority of shake roofs in Incline Village and Crystal Bay are nearing the end of their useful life anyway, and most insurance companies will not write coverage on a property that has a shake roof that is more than 30 years old. Now is an excellent time to get estimates from the local roofing contractors and replace that old shake roof before an unpredictable wildfire creates the potential for reducing your home to a pile of ashes.

Homeowners who are considering painting the exterior or wrapping their house with cedar siding may wish to consider using fiber cement siding as a fire resistant alternative. This type of material is extremely durable, is generally resistant to damage from insects and woodpeckers along with providing a variety of options for the type of finished look you are seeking.

A large percentage of the homes in Incline Village and Crystal Bay were originally constructed with various types of wood exteriors. So, instead of just slapping on another coat of paint, fiber cement siding provides a long-term, durable alternative to the traditional painting process.

As real estate agents, we are often talking about when one analyzes a property; a good portion of the value is in the land. That value will decline precipitously in the event of catastrophic wildfire. It is the responsibility of every property owner, resident and visitor to keep the Lake Tahoe basin safe and to guard against all man-made causes of wildfire, so that future generations can enjoy what we have all come to appreciate.

Sabrina Belleci and Don Kanare are the owners of RE/MAX North Lake. Read their blog and find weekly stats on their website at

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