New housing development is ‘gold standard’ for fire safety

Hannah Jones

A new 38-home development is coming to Alpine Meadows with Placer County’s approval of the project.

The 47-acre site, located between Alpine Meadows Road, the Alpine Meadows resort parking area and the Bear Creek Association neighborhood, will include fire safety features which Supervisor Jim Holmes said he hopes will serve as a “gold standard model” for other development in mountain communities.

Working with the North Tahoe Fire Protection District and Alpine Springs County Water District, Chris Nelson, the developer of the site, established a forest management and fuel reduction plan that they will carry out before the homes are built.

“We believe this is an opportunity to turn this project into an example of a fire safe community,” said Nelson.

“(W)e really feel the Alpine Sierra subdivision is the type of plan that is going to go to other board of supervisors in the state.”— Eric HorntvedtForest fuels coordinator

“The whole area will be looked at as defensible space,” said Eric Horntvedt, forest fuels coordinator for North Tahoe Fire. Horntvedt said they are also requesting that the development becomes a recognized Firewise community, a program that requires communities to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfires then complete an application and assessment process.

“They’re ahead of the curve of what we’re seeing in California right now,” he said. “As a district we really feel the Alpine Sierra subdivision is the type of plan that is going to go to other board of supervisors in the state.”

Each building will be equipped with advanced communication systems under the fire district’s control that will send out early warning signals in case of a fire. This will be a the first time such a system has been used in the area.

Other project features include non-combustible building materials to allow for shelter in place structures and updates to the existing water infrastructure. The developers will also purchase a new four-wheel drive Type I fire pumper truck dedicated to the North Tahoe Fire Protection District.


The 3,000-square-foot homeowners association building included in the project will serve as a shelter in place facility for all residents if evacuation is not possible, which Fire Marshal Todd Conradson said is “the best thing to this whole community.”

He said the building will be constructed with the most fire resistant materials on the market and will be large enough to fit all residents and guests in the entire Alpine Sierra subdivision.

“Between fuels notification, building construction, and availability of shelter in place we believe this provides for the safest project in our area,” said Conradson.

“This is a template for any future development not only for this region but down in the western slope. I think you’ve gone over and above,” said Holmes.

Hannah Jones is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at 530-550-2652 or

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