You too can prevent forest fires | SierraSun.com

You too can prevent forest fires

Norm and Alan Nicholls

Its been a year since the Angora Fire in South Lake Tahoe that destroyed over 270 homes and 3,000 acres of forest. This past weeks smoke has also been a reminder of the devastation of wildfires on our forests, homes, atmosphere and environment. If a 3,000 acre fire occurred in Tahoe Donner, under the same circumstances as the crown fire in South Lake Tahoe, you would be talking a potential of thousands, not hundreds, of homes lost. Simply stated, a crown fire is a fire that makes its way to the tops of trees and spreads from tree top to tree top as a result of heat, dry fuel conditions, gusts of wind, or by winds created within the area of the fire storm. This is the type of fire that destroyed the homes on the South Shore and the Oakland Hills Fire. Its also the same type of fire that raced through the undeveloped acreage that is now Tahoe Donner nearly 50 years ago. That particular fire traveled into Nevada and took weeks to control.The corridor for the Donner Ridge Fire was from the Donner Lake interchange through Negro Canyon, over the ridge and proceeded in a north eastern direction, burning what is now Tahoe Donner, Alder Hill and points east/northeast all the way into Nevada. You can clearly see the scars of that fire today.The last two fires that have recently threatened Tahoe Donner have started within a quarter mile of the 1960 fire and have climbed the hill adjacent to the original corridor. One of the reasons those fires were controlled prior to entering Tahoe Donner is because of the decreased fuels created by the 1960 fire, and the ongoing fire prevention efforts of the Tahoe Donner Forestry Department, the U.S. Forest Service, CalFire and the Truckee Fire Protection District. As property owners in Tahoe Donner we are extremely happy about the aggressive efforts of Bill Houdyschell and our forestry department in all their efforts of creating fire brakes, removing dead trees, thinning of our greenbelt areas and for instituting a defensible space program that will ultimately require all Tahoe Donner property owners (of homes and vacant lots) to create defensible space.Over the next four years all property owners in Tahoe Donner will have their properties inspected by the forestry department, and reports will be sent to all the property owners describing what needs to be done to be in compliance with defensible space standards.This year Units 1, 5, and 8 will be inspected and property owners will be required to be in compliance.Some people have already started complaining that creating defensible space will ruin their privacy and some have gone so far as to say that it will affect their property values. Unfortunately we have also heard that a few of our local area real estate colleagues have agreed. We encourage such people to quit complaining and get the facts. You can arrange an on-site meeting, at your property, with Tahoe Donner Forestry (in Tahoe Donner), or Truckee Fire (in other areas), and discuss exactly what needs to be done.Many people think that defensible space is basically a clear-cut of trees and flammable vegetation within a specific measurable area around their home. This is not true. Selective brush removal, thinning, limbing-up of tree limbs, etc. can be done with, in many cases, minimal disruption of privacy. You can also add fire resistant trees, shrubs and lawns. So pick up the phone and get help with a plan that will work for your property.One thing is certain your property values will definitely drop if your home burns to the ground or if you are lucky enough to be the only house still standing in a neighborhood that looks more like a moonscape than a forest.Remember what Smoky the Bear used to say, Only you can prevent forest fires!

The Hamburger Tradition was formally located across the street from Truckee High School and just west of the new Plumas Bank building. Al Lamas (a first time player) was our early bird winner, followed closely by Gordy Kjer. Other players with the correct answer included Lori Tucker, Dan Warren, Fred and Mary Ann Haswell, Don Casler, Barbara Brill, Leah Krone, and Mary De Lisle.Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate Group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd.