More fires possible, supervisors told | SierraSun.com

More fires possible, supervisors told

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun

Residents of the Tahoe Basin are still reeling after the Angora Fire destroyed nearly 300 structures in South Lake Tahoe. And the catastrophic fire may be just the beginning, fire officials said Tuesday in briefing the Placer County board of supervisors.

“We’re starting to see burning conditions unlike anything we’ve seen,” said Brad Harris, chief of the Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit of Calfire.

Fire districts need the assistance of homeowners. Defensible space helps protect not only the property but the firefighters, too, Harris told the supervisors, who met in Kings Beach.

“We are all begging people to get this stuff taken care of … and it’s not happening,” said John Pickett, the Tahoe Basin coordinator of the Nevada Fire Safe Council.

Pickett asked the Placer supervisors to review county ordinances and see how they could better enforce defensible space requirements. But it’s funding that is the issue.

In light of the recent devastation, the fire districts have an overwhelming workload and don’t have the manpower or the money to properly address community needs.

“We need more money,” North Tahoe Fire Chief Duane Whitelaw agreed.

But those same officials commended North Shore public utility districts, fire districts, Placer sheriff’s departments, other nonprofit organizations and residents for their contributions and support following the catastrophe.