Safety first on the Fourth: Truckee-Tahoe gets innovative for Independence Day |

Safety first on the Fourth: Truckee-Tahoe gets innovative for Independence Day

Fireworks, weekend guidelines

In an effort to reduce the risk and slow the spread of COVID-19, the California Department of Public Health is urging the public to avoid traveling long distances.

Those that are out on the California roadways can expect to see an increased presence by law enforcement. California Highway Patrol announced it will have a maximum enforcement period in effect this weekend from 6 p.m. Friday to midnight on Sunday.

“Should the upcoming weekend include a road trip, stay safe and healthy with a few additional precautions,” said California Highway Patrol Commissioner Warren Stanley, in a news release. “Obeying speed limits, buckling up, and not driving impaired or distracted will be more important than ever.”

During this past Memorial Day maximum enforcement period, California Highway Patrol announced it issued 458 citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph, which was a 173% increase from the same period in 2019. Last year’s maximum enforcement period, which was two days longer than the upcoming weekend’s enforcement period, had a reported 36 fatalities from traffic crashes, 21 of which were in the California Highway Patrol’s jurisdiction. Of those 21 individuals, 11 were not wearing seatbelts. Additionally, highway patrol officers made 1,317 arrests for driving under the influence during the 2019 Fourth of July maximum enforcement period.

“However you choose to celebrate the weekend, do it without putting yourself or others at risk,” added Commissioner Stanley.

With fireworks displays canceled around Truckee and Lake Tahoe, visitors and locals should note that use of fireworks in the Tahoe Basin and in Truckee is illegal. Anyone possessing, transporting, or using fireworks in Nevada County and Placer County is in violation of the law, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit, with the exception of “safe and sane” fireworks which are permitted within the city limits of Rocklin and Roseville.

“We will be doing interdiction to stem and ultimately stop the transport of illegal fireworks into California,” said Fire Chief Brian Estes.

Estes said the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit seized more than 35,000 pounds of illegal fireworks last year. Much of that seizure came from a tractor trailer containing fireworks.

Since Friday, five arrests due to possession of between 100 and 5,000 pounds of fireworks have been made at the California Department of Food and Agriculture Truckee Border Station.

— Justin Scacco

While Fourth of July fireworks shows and festivities may be canceled across the Truckee-Tahoe area, there will be a number of ways for the community and visitors to celebrate Independence Day amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

On Saturday morning, Tahoe Truckee Media will begin broadcasting previous Truckee Fourth of July parades, which will run back-to-back from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Parades can also be viewed online at Tahoe Truckee Media will then air previous live concerts from acts including Mojo Green, Dead Winter Carpenters, Jelly Break, Deckheads, Montana, TAMA, and others.

While Truckee’s traditional Fourth of July parade has been canceled, the Truckee Tahoe Air Show & Family Festival committee and Truckee Tahoe Airport have planned a parade in the sky with military aircraft featuring the D-Day Squadron. The squadron plans to fly six DC-3 (C-47s) historic warbirds over Truckee-Tahoe communities as a special gift supported by the Truckee Airport District.

“Considering we had to make the decision to cancel the 2020 Air Show & Family Festival due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Airport District Board supported funding an honor flyover as a gift to our community to celebrate July 4th with a parade of planes in the sky,” Tim LoDolce, Truckee Tahoe Air Show director, said in a news release.

“Grab a lawn chair, some friends, and view the parade of planes to happen overhead!”— Tim LoDolceTruckee Tahoe Air Show director

The flyover is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. and includes Tahoe Forest Hospital, all four shores of Lake Tahoe, Barton Medical Center in South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village, Tahoe City, Squaw Valley and back to Truckee.

The flyover, stretching 130 miles, is expected to finish by 12:30 p.m. The lead aircraft for the flyover, according to officials, will be Gooney Bird Group Betsy’s Biscuit Bomber C-47, piloted by U.S. Navy veteran Sherman Smoot and Scott Stelzle. The progression will end with an aircraft of Romania, an IAR-823, Zlin,

“We’re encouraging residents to look up as these radial engines roar above to honor and celebrate our nation’s independence and COVID-19 frontline workers,” added LoDolce. “Grab a lawn chair, some friends, and view the parade of planes to happen overhead!”

This weekend, Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows has set up a drive-in cinema in the Squaw Valley parking lot. Gates for movie nights, sponsored by North Lake Tahoe, will open at 6 p.m., and movies will start at 8 p.m. Friday’s movie is “Sonic the Hedgehog,” followed by “Sing” on Saturday, and “Field of Dreams” on Sunday.

Cost is $40 per vehicle and must be done in advance at Takeout and patio dining will also be available from Tremigo Mexican Kitchen & Tequila Bar, Auld Dubliner, Fireside Pizza, Rocker@Squaw, Twenty-Two Bistro, and Wildflour Pop Up.

Milton Merlos and Jeff Jones will also be providing live music in the Village at Squaw Valley on Friday and Saturday. Masks are required to enter the village.

Know Before you go

Ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities are asking travelers to wear face coverings in order to keep businesses open amid an increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases across the country.

Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, North Lake Tahoe, and Truckee have shared six ways visitors can plan ahead to enjoy a socially distanced weekend.

To help travelers navigate current information across state and county lines, “Know Before You Go” details have been compiled by North Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe, and Truckee, specific to their regions. Visitors are also encouraged to call lodging properties and businesses ahead of time for clarity on individual policies.

If plans for the weekend entail heading to the lake, beach-goers are being encouraged to “spread out on over 40 public beaches.” Info on Tahoe’s beaches can be found at Information on Donner Lake, the Truckee River and reservoirs nearby Truckee can be found at

Another way visitors can socially distance is by going on a hike on one of the area’s less traveled trails. Information on local hikes can be found at destination websites for the area —,, and

Many of the Truckee-Tahoe area’s trails can be explored on two wheels. From the new East Shore Trail to the Truckee Legacy Trail, the area offers plenty of options for cycling. Make a plan to ride be visiting North Lake Tahoe, South Lake Tahoe or Truckee’s destination websites.

The area’s bodies of water also provide a way to recreate while maintaining social distancing. Whether it’s stand-up paddling, water skiing, or parasailing, Lake Tahoe, Donner Lake, and other bodies of water offer plenty of options for activities this weekend. Rental operators and other information can be found at the destination websites for Truckee, North Tahoe, and South Tahoe.

Lastly, the Truckee-Tahoe area is home to some of the best golf courses in the Sierra. Tee-times can be scheduled this weekend at a variety of mountain courses by finding links at,, and

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at or 530-550-2643.

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