Tahoe residents asked to follow tree-cutting laws | SierraSun.com

Tahoe residents asked to follow tree-cutting laws

Sun staff report

As a result of the Angora fire, some Tahoe Basin residents are cutting down trees on their properties. However, a few have cut trees on private, state or federal public lands adjacent to their homes.

Residents are urged to be certain that the trees need to be cut, and that they are not cutting on private lands belonging to others, on U.S. Forest Service lands or urban lots owned by the U.S. Forest Service, the California Tahoe Conservancy or other public lands.

It has been widely speculated that trees carried a crown fire that ignited homes during the Angora fire. However, this was not the case, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

In fact, the Forest Service said an on-the-ground review by fire and fuels experts showed that most of the burned homes in the Angora Fire caught fire when wind-driven embers ignited combustible material on or adjacent to houses such as: wooden shingle roofs, wooden decks (especially where combustible material was stored under the decks), pine needles on roofs or in gutters, wood stacked next to homes and fire brands reaching into attics through vents.

Large trees were not the major fire spread factor in the neighborhoods, the Forest Service said. Cutting down large trees does not produce any beneficial “defensible space,” and could produce a large fuel load on the ground that would have to be removed.

Residents wishing to improve defensible space around their homes are urged to contact their local fire protection district before engaging in any tree felling. Those with questions about urban lots and the Forest Service Urban Lot Program should visit: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/ltbmu.