State senator calls for Tahoe fire commission
In the wake of the destructive Angora fire, which burned over 3,100 acres in the Lake Tahoe Basin and destroyed or severely damaged over 250 homes, California state Sen. Dave Cox, who represents the Truckee area, has called for the creation of a bistate blue-ribbon commission to study forest health in the basin.
“We all recently toured this disaster area and saw first-hand the devastation this fire had on the community and this unique national treasure, Cox said in a letter sent to California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons.
“It is my hope that out of this tragedy we can begin to look for ways to make the forests in the Lake Tahoe Basin healthier and at the same time reduce the threat of future catastrophic wildfires and long-term impacts to the lake’s legendary water clarity,” Cox wrote. He suggested forming a joint California and Nevada “Blue Ribbon Fire Commission,” similar to the one created to review the effort to fight Southern California’s 2003 wildfires.-
In the letter, Cox said anger expressed over fuels-reduction policies need to be addressed.-
“It is the public’s frustration with the lack of appropriate fuels management that has most demanding significant changes to how we manage these lands,” Cox said. “It is my contention that this proposed Blue Ribbon Commission explore in more detail how to better manage the public forests in this highly populated and highly regulated region that encompasses two different states.”
Cox said a blue-ribbon commission should look for ways to reduce regulatory burdens characteristic of fire prevention in the Lake Tahoe Basin.-
“There is a very strong feeling among residents of the Lake Tahoe Basin, that over the years, all levels of government have failed to properly manage the forest lands and reduce the threats of catastrophic wildfires,” Cox wrote the governors. “Many feel that the requirements and regulations that have been put in place by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the U.S. Forest Service have made the process of creating defensible space both cumbersome and costly.”