We dodged a bullet thanks to heroes | SierraSun.com

We dodged a bullet thanks to heroes

Norm & Alan Nicholls

We hope you will join us in thanking all the different agencies and personnel that did their jobs last week to successfully put out the freeway fire in a very organized and timely manner.We should all be grateful to the people who have previously formulated the emergency preparedness plans that were put into action that day as well as to the hundreds of personnel who carried them out. We thank not only the firefighters, the helicopter and air tanker pilots, the bull dozer operators, the hand crews, etc., but also to law enforcement agencies, city and county employees, and the many volunteers who played their part in making this a successful operation.And a huge thank you to Bill Houdyschell, Tahoe Donners Forestry Manager, whose crew has worked for years clearing fire breaks and reducing fuels along the perimeter of Tahoe Donner and within the subdivisions green belt areas. I understand that Bill and his forestry crew were also instrumental in opening all the fire gates and guiding the fire personnel to the necessary areas to attack the fire. Well done!

Our hearts and prayers continue to go out to the families who have lost their homes due to forest fires this summer both in Tahoe City the week before last and at South Lake Tahoe, nearly two months ago.Alice and I were in South Lake Tahoe for three days last week. We enjoyed our mini vacation which included some sightseeing, bike riding, and a visit to Fallen Leaf Lake.We also took time out to inspect some of the areas devastated by the huge Angora fire. In particular we wanted to go see where my aunt and uncles former cabin had once stood. Although they had sold the cabin six or seven years ago, they were definitely shocked and saddened to hear that it burned down. They knew the buyers of their home as well as most of the neighbors that were burned out of their homes. In a neighborhood that once had between 40 and 50 homes, only two homes were saved.We were extremely impressed with the scope of the clean up throughout the area. We only saw a couple of homes that had not yet been demolished and where debris had not been removed. Yet, it was very eerie to drive down the streets with driveways going to excavations in the dirt. The debris is gone, the foundations are gone, the vegetation is gone. Just driveways, dirt, and charred trees. A few homes were being framed up, but not many at least not yet.We were very surprised when we drove past several homes that had been saved from the inferno and yet all the surrounding trees, even in the yards, were all scorched black. How fire crews pull off this type of magic, we cannot imagine.We were even more astonished when we drove the back street of the Gardner Mountain subdivision for eight to 10 blocks. The homes on the west side of the street all back to the forest that leads up to Angora Ridge. Where we could see through to the backyards, it appeared that the fire went right up to the back property lines. None of the homes had burned down, and there were no visible signs of any fire damage to the homes, at least from the street side. We could only imagine the stand the firefighters, with their equipment and aerial support, made that particular day (or night) that literally saved a subdivision of hundreds and hundreds of homes and possibly much of the southwest end of Lake Tahoe.So, Truckee, we dodged the bullet … this time. And, in effect, so did South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City from what could have been even larger disasters, thanks to emergency preparedness, and to the men and women who go in harm’s way to protect others.

What is truly ironic and very sad, is that all three of these fires, as well as the huge fire in the hills west of Reno, were all caused by man or man-made objects. Thanks to the heroes who cover for our carelessness and stupidity! Remember the words of Smokey Bear and be very careful the rest of this fire season and in years to come.

Main Street was the former name of the street we now call Jibboom Street. According to excerpts from the Truckee Donner Historical Society Web site on Truckee, Jibboom Street (previously called Main Street) is the most historic street in Truckee. Even more so than Commercial Row (previously called Front Street). Main Street was once part of the Dutch Flat-Donner Lake Wagon Road and it was the street on which Grays Cabin, the towns first building, was located.Main Street boasted the largest red light district of any small town in the West. It became the place where most of the fistfights, knifefights and gunfights occurred. Our good friend, and member of the Truckee Regulators, Norm Justesen was our early bird winner, followed by Leah Krone, Rieca Tift, Barbara Brill and Mary DeLisle. Mary remembers the huge pot holes and deep puddles down by the post office prior to incorporation. You could barely get your car through the water to the parking lot, she said.

For over 25 years, Truckee hosted an annual event that normally took place near the end of June. What was this popular event? Call us at 550-5035 or e-mail us at nnicholls@dicksonrealty.com with your answer We will be on vacation until Wednesday, so we will reply to your answers when we return.Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group, are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Road.