Good or bad? Prescribed fire question topic of public forum this week in Truckee |

Good or bad? Prescribed fire question topic of public forum this week in Truckee

Greyson Howard
Sierra Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; The local land trust and airport paid more than $23 million to protect and conserve almost 1,500 acres of open space in the Martis Valley in 2007.

Now they’re contemplating if fire should be part of Waddle Ranch’s upkeep.

Calfire approached the Truckee Tahoe Airport District in January, proposing prescribed burns to thin the forest and prevent future forest fires. On Wednesday, March 24, the Truckee Donner Land Trust is opening that question to the public, with a workshop at 6 p.m. at town hall.

and#8220;What the land trust is hoping is that the public better understand the benefits of fire, and why it can’t be mimicked,and#8221; said Perry Norris, executive director of the group. and#8220;And we’re hoping this will be educational for the decision makers as well.and#8221;

Norris said fire is becoming increasingly popular as a land management tool.

At the January airport board meeting, Jeff Dowling of Calfire proposed burning areas already mechanically thinned, 10 acres at a time, up to 60 acres.

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and#8220;I’m a great fan of burning and#8212; it’s the right way to go,and#8221; said board member Bill Quesnel at the January meeting. and#8220;I think we should just go for it.and#8221;

But some have expressed reservations about using prescribed burns in a recreation area, because of the potential to create smoke.

and#8220;Whatever happened to being concerned about putting carbon dioxide into the air?and#8221; wrote Truckee resident Judy Gelwicks in a letter to the editor. and#8220;It is also a known fact that many of our forest fires around the country have happened by out of control and#8216;controlled burns.’and#8221;

Norris said the work proposed at Waddle Ranch represents a very small percent of planned prescribed burns in the Truckee area this summer and fall.