Debris burning: How landscape burning can help protect your home

Submitted to the Sun

LAKE TAHOE, California/Nevada –Being prepared for wildfire and maintaining defensible space is a year-round activity in our fire-prone and fire-dependent Lake Tahoe Region. This fall, residents should remove dry vegetation around their homes and properties. Recent precipitation, along with higher fuel moisture and cooler temperatures, make for ideal conditions for debris burning, if it is safe for the property.

“Debris burning is one effective way to remove material around your home that could ignite in the case of a wildfire,” said Martin Goldberg with the Lake Valley Fire Department. “Of course, it’s important to make sure you’re only doing it if the conditions are right, and you have a permit.”

There are many areas where debris burning is safe, as there is some moisture in the ground and the vegetation is green. If the vegetation at your location appears to be dried out or brown, or if you have any other concerns, please refrain from burning debris. Bundled debris can be picked up by your local refuse company or you can save it for chipping next season.

For debris burning, residential burn permits are required, and allow for the burning of dry landscape vegetation (not household trash) that originates from the landowner’s property. Check with your local fire agency on how to obtain a permit. Debris burning is never allowed in the City of South Lake Tahoe.

Before burning, take outdoor precautions to prevent wildfires –confirm permissive burn days through your local air resources board, obtain required burn permits, maintain a 10-foot clearance around burn piles, limit pile size to 4 feet in diameter, have a shovel and water source available, ensure adult supervision, never leave the burn unattended, and never burn during windy conditions.

As a reminder, burn restrictions may be implemented at any time depending on current and predicted dry or windy weather conditions. Taking preventive measures now will make preparing for the next fire season much easier.

Learn more about how to stay prepared year-round at

Landscape burning can help protect your home.

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