Sen. Feinstein’s staff witness fire first-hand | SierraSun.com

Sen. Feinstein’s staff witness fire first-hand

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

Four employees of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein fled the flames of the Washoe Fire on Saturday, minutes before an evacuation order made leaving the Granlibakken resort mandatory.

“Once it turned to smoke and ash and we saw airtankers, we thought that would be a good time to leave,” said Phil LaVelle, the senator’s press secretary.

Feinstein, California’s senior U.S. senator, was at Lake Tahoe for the Tahoe Forum, where she spoke about the need to protect Tahoe’s forests against wildfire. She attended the forum with Nevada Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and John Ensign (R-Nev.) and former President Bill Clinton.

Feinstein was staying at another location near Lake Tahoe during the fire and was not evacuated, LaVelle said.

LaVelle added that witnessing the fire on Tahoe’s West Shore reaffirmed Feinstein’s commitment to forest thinning for fire protection.

“The day before, she said the danger of a catastrophic fire was immediate,” LaVelle said.