IVGId GM’s Corner: Working together to protect your community | SierraSun.com

IVGId GM’s Corner: Working together to protect your community

Steve Pinkerton
IVGID GM’s Corner
A look at the areas in and around Incline Village subject to fire treatment. The dark blue areas indicate where IVGID fuels work has or can occur.
Courtesy NLTFPD |

IVGID was very honored to co-host a Community Reception for outgoing North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District (NLTFPD) Fire Chief Mike Brown on March 18.

Over 400 community stakeholders attended to thank Mike for his tireless focus on keeping our homes fire-safe.

Here at IVGID, we are especially appreciative of the partnership we’ve had with the NLTFPD for the past quarter century. Chief Brown played a key role in securing the financial resources needed to protect the billions of dollars of public and private investment we enjoy here in Incline Village/Crystal Bay.

As the largest landowner in the District, IVGID is responsible for managing over 1,400 acres of land. While most of you are familiar with our urban properties including the Golf Courses, beaches, Village Green and Recreation Center, most of the land at the community’s northern and western borders is owned by IVGID as well.

“Today, the model of collaboration between IVGID and NLTFPD serves as an example for communities nationwide that seek to take an active role in preventing wildfires, protecting watersheds and restoring crucial ecosystem benefits.”

In 1989, the fire district began working with IVGID to build the foundation of a program that would bring emerging forest science and management techniques to long-neglected parcels.

Since that time, the program has expanded and NLTFPD has dedicated a full time and seasonal work force of over 60 employees to provide Incline Village/Crystal Bay with critical wildfire suppression forces and vegetation management projects.

Today, the model of collaboration between IVGID and NLTFPD serves as an example for communities nationwide that seek to take an active role in preventing wildfires, protecting watersheds and restoring crucial ecosystem benefits.

It has been successful because it is far better to remove hazardous fuels before the fire starts.

Their protection of our watershed has not only been crucial to the clarity of our Lake, it has also contributed to the high quality drinking water we all enjoy.

IVGID recently won “Best Tasting Water in Nevada” competition at the Nevada Rural Water Conference. While there are many factors that have contributed to our outstanding water quality, vegetation management has played a very important role.

In a typical year, NLTFPD crews treat over 100 acres of our property with pile burning, hand thinning and understory burns.

While we contribute a portion of the cost for this work, NLTFPD is able to access federal grant dollars to save IVGID and its taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars on an annual basis.

Over the past quarter century, NLTFPD has secured over $2 million in grant funds for IVGID-related work and dedicated over $2.5 million of their own local funding to make our properties fire-safe.

They also provide many other programs related to defensible space which protects our properties as well as the overall community.

To date, NLTFPD has completed defensible space evaluations for over 1,600 homeowners and chipped over 1,300 curbside piles.

If you are interested in learning more about these NLTFPD programs, just go to this link on their website — nltfpd.net/fuels-management.

The end result of this work has been a significant clean up and understory burning of most of the IVGID properties that bound the urban boundaries of our community.

This has created a “halo” around the community that should make it far more difficult for wildland fires to penetrate our built environment.

Hopefully, within about five years, the initial work on the “halo” will be completed. Once the work is completed, it should be less costly to maintain the “halo” as the most significant fire hazards will have been permanently removed.

It is unlikely we’d be nearing completion of the “halo” without the efforts of Chief Brown. The Chief’s ability to secure outside funding has been uncanny. There are very few Fire Districts of their size across the country that has been as effective at obtaining and leveraging grant funds.

This community has been extraordinarily fortunate that we’ve been able to survive the many drought years without a catastrophic fire event. We also can’t forget the Angora Fire as it was so very close to our home.

While there is no failsafe when it comes to fire prevention, Chief Brown has played a key role in greatly reducing the fire risk for our community in the past, today, and well into the future.

While to some this might seem trite, thanks again Chief Brown — we really can’t thank you enough.

“GM’s Corner” is a recurring column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters. He may be reached for comment at steve_pinkerton@ivgid.org.