Tahoe, Truckee enter fire season: Restrictions on campfires, barbecues in effect | SierraSun.com

Tahoe, Truckee enter fire season: Restrictions on campfires, barbecues in effect

The Tahoe Basin and Truckee have officially entered fire season.

The North Tahoe Fire Protection, Meeks Bay Fire Protection, and Alpine Springs County Water districts have activated fire restrictions, suspending outdoor burning of solid fuels, including wood and charcoal for the duration of the fire season, into November.

“Following the driest January through March on record, we are left facing dry fuels early in the season with above-normal fire activity expected in the region,” said North Tahoe Fire Protection District Fire Chief Steve Leighton in a news release. “We ask our residents and visitors to follow our seasonal ban on the outdoor burning of wood and charcoal, in addition to doing the work that makes homes resistant to embers to help us protect this beautiful place. Our firefighters have been working hard this spring to train and prepare for fire season, but as we witnessed last year in Christmas Valley, it takes all of us working together throughout the season to make Tahoe wildfire ready.”

Only natural gas or propane outdoor fire pits and barbecues are allowed year-round, except during red flag and critical fire weather conditions, following the adoption of the 2019 fire code.

During red flag or critical fire weather conditions, all sources of open flames are prohibited. Red flag watches and warnings of critical fire weather in the Tahoe Basin are issued by the National Weather Service office in Reno.

“The National Weather Service will issue a fire weather watch roughly three to five days in advance of critical fire weather conditions, including strong winds and low humidity,” said Chris Smallcomb, National Weather Service warning coordination meteorologist, in a news release. “Once confidence levels are high enough, this is upgraded to a red flag warning, usually one to three days in advance. Our fire service partners use the alerts to help guide staffing and resource decisions not just locally but over regional and multi-state areas.”

Open-flame devices such as tiki torches and all fireworks, including sparklers and firecrackers, are illegal in California year-round. To report a hazardous or illegal campfire, call 911. Illegal firework activity should be reported to local law enforcement.

North Tahoe Fire Protection District is asking residents to prepare for wildfire by maintaining a minimum of 100 feet of defensible space around every structure.

“Residents can increase the survivability of homes and neighborhoods from wildfire by managing vegetation and retrofitting structures to be more resistant to both surface fires and ember showers,” said North Tahoe Fire Protection District Fire Marshal Brent Armstrong in a news release. “We encourage residents to sign up for our no-cost defensible space inspections, and no-cost residential curbside chipping.”

For additional information on how to create defensible space, tips to prevent wildfires and ways to prepare for emergencies and evacuations, visit http://www.TahoeLivingWithFire.com.


Beginning this month, Truckee will ban campfires and the use of charcoal through the end of fire season.

Truckee Fire District said it’s experienced a number of escaped fires caused by improper charcoal ash disposal and campfires.

Burning anything other than gas is now banned, including the use of barbecues that burn solid fuel like charcoal briquettes, wood or lump charcoal.

Outdoor gas devices such as gas fire pits, gas barbecues, and pellet burning devices are allowed.

As in past years, any open flames will be prohibited during red flag events.

For more information, visit http://www.truckeefire.org/fire-ban-faq.

Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at jscacco@sierrasun.com

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