Smokey Bear and other hot topics | SierraSun.com

Smokey Bear and other hot topics

Norm and Alan Nicholls

We would like to thank our readers for their positive response to our last column dealing with defensible space. Although it has been a topic of many a newspaper article, we felt talking about it was positive and we did want to enthusiastically acknowledge the defensible space program in Tahoe Donner.Denny Dickinson wrote: Thanks for great article about defensible space. You missed one item. Defensible space is the law. Check out Public Resources Code Section 4291.He suggested a Web site: http://www.livingwithfire.com, which takes a look at fire ecology.Jessamyn Specht, son of Tom and Bobbi Specht, e-mailed the following from San Diego: As a firefighter in San Diego I know all too well the damage that can happen, and I think about what devastation would occur if a firestorm ran through my hometown (Truckee) and my neighborhood (Tahoe Donner).

Irving Willis e-mailed us from Oakland to explain the correct reference for the U.S. Forest Service fire prevention mascot Smokey Bear. We had submitted our draft for the column with Smoky Bear. My spell check said Smoky without an e. Whoever proof reads our column changed it to Smoky the Bear. According to Irving, Smokeys correct, and full name is Smokey Bear. In the popular song Smokey the Bear written in 1952 by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, a the was added to his name to keep the songs rhythm. This small change has caused confusion among Smokey fans ever since. Now, there you have it.

The popularity of fire rings and deck/patio wood-burning devices (some are gas) has increased markedly in the past few years. Unfortunately, some people feel that as long as they are approved devices, they must be safe. However, these devices are not full proof if not operated correctly.I have seen occasions where people have used fireplaces on their decks or close to their home with the fire screens removed. Once youve burned the marshmallows for your smores put the screen back on please.I have also seen fire circles and pits located under the limbs of trees or adjacent to wood decks, dry vegetation, wood piles, or within just a few feet of the wooden siding of the house. The worse situation I have seen was a fire ring made of paver stones that was about 6 layers high. This ring was perfectly symmetrical, really looked nice, but the construction was flawed to say the least. This ring was in the backyard of a very high-end home.Whoever built it placed the bottom row of pavers with one paver, then an open air space (equivalent to half a length of a paver), then another paver, etc. The next layer up, the pavers were staggered above the open gaps below, then a space, etc. and so on. If you can visualize this, you see the flaw. If the wind blows through the air spaces, the coals and tinder can blow out the sides, super-heated, to the closest combustible materials and can cause a fire.

Our hats are off to the people who had the vision to put this weekly event together. These activities, along with the Concerts in the Park on Wednesdays, are great venues for Truckee residents and visitors alike. If you havent been yet, make sure you attend tomorrow night.

Thanks to Ryan Williams and the Ritz Carlton-Carlton Club Lake Tahoe for inviting Alan, Lil Schaller and myself; along with many other local real estate brokers and agents to view the first round of the American Century Golf Championship at the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course last Friday. Their hospitality pavilion/grandstand was a great place to eat, drink, and view the many celebrities and professional athletes that played in this years event.Most of the entrants are better than average golfers. Some are excellent. Then there is Charles Barkley with what may be the worst golf swing in golf. Even though he agonizes over his game, he is definitely personable and is a crowd pleaser. He was honored at the first tee for his $100,000 donation to the victims of the Angora Fire.

Last weeks questionTony Stiles was our local orthodontist who used to be known as The Smile Doctor. Larry McEneaney called in at 6:24 a.m. from Coffee And, followed by Dean and Robie Litchfield, Denny Dickinson, Mary De Lisle, and Jess Specht (I can thank him for my straight teeth). Charlie White and Mike Finney identified Dr. Wang who, I believe, purchased the practice from Tony. His practice is Sierra Smiles Orthodontics.Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group, are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd.