Tahoe chief’s corner: Fire season continues after Labor Day | SierraSun.com

Tahoe chief’s corner: Fire season continues after Labor Day

Michael Schwartz
Chief’s Corner

Michael Schwartz

Labor Day is historically the end of summer; and yes, we have experienced occasional lower temperatures, but don't let that fool you, the months of September and October can actually be the peak of fire season.

With precipitation for the Lake Tahoe Basin area below average and no significant precipitation systems on the horizon, we encourage citizens to exercise extra safety precautions both indoors and outdoors.

Please use extra caution with any ignition source. If you plan on using a fireplace, keep the following in mind:

When using your fireplace please make sure you know how to operate your flue properly and that your chimney is free of creosote — buildup that can lead to unnecessary chimney fires.

Clean yearly, more often with "dampered-down" fires.

Green or wet wood will cause excessive creosote build-up.

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Reduce creosote build-up by providing adequate combustion air, which will encourage a hot clean-burning fire.

Always use a proper metal ash can to dispose of fireplace ashes.

In addition to chimney and indoor safety, use extra caution when outdoors as well. Always use proper receptacles for cigarettes and ensure that materials are completely extinguished before discarding. Remember, fire restrictions are still in effect.

North Tahoe Fire Protection District's fire restrictions include: Properly screened wood burning outdoor fireplace or chiminea; LPG or LNG portable outdoor fireplace, or barbecue; and has a total fuel area of 3 feet or less in diameter and 2 feet or less in height, at least 15 feet from a structure or combustible material (renters must have written permission from owner, and have the letter in their possession).

It is up to residents and visitors to know their local district, state, and federal agencies fire restrictions. U.S. Forest Service fire restrictions can be viewed at fs.usda.gov.

For more winter safety tips, visit http://www.nfpa.org. Please follow North Tahoe Fire on Facebook, Twitter, and our new Instagram.

Michael Schwartz joined the North Tahoe Fire Protection District as its Fire Chief in 2012, after serving 29 years with a neighboring fire agency. Along with his wife Jean, they have been a part of the Lake Tahoe community since 1978.