Our View: Season is over " for now
October 22, 2007
It’s official. As of today, the fire season in our area is over.
Following a season that started out drier, earlier and tenser than at any time in the last 20 years, officials in Calfire’s Nevada-Yuba-Placer Unit have “officially” put the season behind us.
Of course that’s a good thing, considering October can often host just as tinder-like conditions as July, August and September. Whether the weather gods bestow feet upon feet of snow on us this winter to keep a replay of this dry season from reoccurring remains to be seen, but the early rain and snow is a welcome arrival.
The same can’t be said for Southern California, where right now nearly a dozen wildfires driven by powerful Santa Ana winds are spreading across the southland. Fires have killed one person near San Diego and destroyed homes and a church in Malibu.
The Malibu blaze was driven by hot weather and winds that mark the traditional height of their wildfire season, where recent history has seen thousands of homes burned.
For the first time, residents of the Tahoe Basin this year either witnessed or experienced what is essentially an annual expectation in Southern California ” catastrophic wildfire. The Angora Fire ravaged more than 250 homes. While the Washoe Fire claimed five homes, the first hour ” if not more ” of that battle had Angora ” or worse ” stamped all over it.
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But as Chief Duane Whitelaw of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District said recently, “Out of tragedy often comes good. I have never seen more homeowners cleaning up their yards and preparing their defensible space. Neighbors are talking to each other about preparations in the event of evacuations. We are no longer sending mixed messages to property owners about defensible space; we know it works to reduce the risk of catastrophic fire.”
Angora has spurred fire safety discussions at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and spawned a bi-state fire commission mulling ideas such as once again basing Calfire resources in the basin.
Whether the latter happens remains to be seen, but one certainty is that we will have another fire season. And with that comes the unfortunate reality that we’ll likely see more devastating wildfires in the Tahoe-Truckee area.
Are you prepared?
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