Chief’s message: 2022 fire season a welcome break, less acres burned this year |

Chief’s message: 2022 fire season a welcome break, less acres burned this year

Steve Leighton
Steve Leighton

The 2022 fire season was a welcome break compared to recent years. We experienced no red flag warnings for the first time in 11 years, and the early record-setting rain we received in September helped to bring the Mosquito Fire under containment. 

Cal Fire is reporting less than 375,000 acres burned this year compared to nearly 2.5 million acres at the same time last year, and our November storm brought welcome precipitation to the region, ending our fire season and allowing us to lift seasonal fire restrictions.

I’m proud to report that our community members have been incredibly engaged with defensible space efforts. Demand for our curbside chipping program nearly doubled compared to last year, and we were able to fund over 50 green waste dumpsters for organized community work days, with residents providing an in-kind match. 

This resulted in the removal of more than 12,000 cubic yards of flammable biomass. We now have 13 recognized Firewise USA communities, making homes in those communities eligible for discounts on homeowner’s insurance.

With snow on the ground, now is the time to safeguard your home from winter fires. Heating equipment and improper ash disposal are the leading causes of fires during the fall and winter months. Ensure your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are working by testing them monthly. Cool ashes completely before disposing of them (four days or 96 hours is the minimum recommended cooling period). 

Always plug heating devices directly into a wall outlet and never into a surge protector, and keep three-feet clearance from anything combustible. Stay warm with safety in mind this season.

Steve Leighton is fire chief for North Tahoe Fire and Meeks Bay Fire. This column was published in the fire protection district’s fall newsletter.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.