Smoke may be visible from prescribed burns in Tahoe National Forest |

Smoke may be visible from prescribed burns in Tahoe National Forest

Staff Report

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Tahoe National Forest officials plan to resume prescribed burning operations starting Friday, Nov. 4 across various locations as conditions allow. 

Forest officials said the recent storm has provided the moisture necessary to burn and resume critical fuels treatment work. Each planned burn project duration may vary on conditions and smoke dispersion could last several days.  

Upcoming prescribed burns include: 

  • Nov. 4 — Truckee near Glenshire and Greater Juniper Hills subdivisions. Personnel will burn 204 acres of piles and reduce wildfire threat for over 1,400 homes in the area.  
  • Nov. 4 —  Talbot Campground near French Meadows Reservoir. This project will burn 100 acres of piles as part of the French Meadows Forest Restoration Project undertaken with several partners and consists of over 22,000 acres of identified fuels treatment activities. 
  • Nov. 5 — Burlington Ridge Road, south of White Cloud, which will pile burn 90 acres. 

Fall and winter typically bring cooler temperatures and precipitation, which can be ideal for conducting prescribed fires. With that, each operation follows a specialized burn plan, wherein temperature, humidity, wind, vegetation moisture and smoke dispersal conditions are considered daily before a prescribed fire is implemented. All this information is used to decide if and when to burn.   

“Prescribed fire plays a critical role in reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire impacting our communities that interface with the Tahoe National Forest,” said Tahoe National Forest Acting Forest Fire Management Officer Kyle Jacobson. “We are fully committed to safely using this important tool to reduce wildfire risk, while simultaneously working towards creating healthy and resilient landscapes for the public to enjoy.” 

Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size, conditions and weather. Prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by unwanted wildfires, as fire managers consider optimal conditions for dispersal and duration of smoke impacts when considering prescribed burns. 

Prescribed burns are resuming on the Tahoe National Forest following a 90-day national pause. The pause, necessitated by recent escaped prescribed fires, was enacted by Forest Service Chief Randy Moore on May 12. The pause was conditionally lifted on Sept. 8, after a thorough national program review. 

Prior to burning, units on all National Forest System lands must implement a series of recommendations to ensure the safety and success of the prescribed burn. The Tahoe National Forest has successfully implemented these recommendations and will conduct prescribed burns as conditions permit. 

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