Lake Tahoe Prescribed Fire Operations Continue…

April 5, 2021


Lake Tahoe prescribed fire operations continue



Contact:  USDA Forest Service, Lisa Herron 530-721-3898

LAKE TAHOE, Calif./Nev., April 5, 2021 – Weather and conditions permitting, the Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team will continue prescribed fire operations this week at Lake Tahoe. Smoke may be visible. A map with project locations and detailed information is available for viewing at Sign-up to receive email prescribed fire notifications by sending a request to

Prescribed fires are a vital tool for restoring forest health to fire-adapted ecosystems. Fire is a natural and essential process in the Sierra Nevada that cannot be duplicated by thinning operations alone. Prescribed fires mimic natural, low intensity fires which burn mainly on the forest floor, consuming excess vegetation (fuels), such as small trees and shrubs, allowing mature trees to remain intact. These fires not only reduce ground fuels, they help trees increase resistance to insects and disease leading to a healthier, more resilient forest over time.

Prescribed fire managers use different methods to reintroduce low intensity fire back into our forests that include pile burning and understory burning. Pile burning is intended to remove excess fuels (branches, limbs and stumps) that can feed unwanted wildfires and involves burning slash piles that are constructed by hand and mechanical equipment. Understory burning is low intensity prescribed fire that takes place on the ground (the understory) rather than pile burning. Understory burning uses a controlled application of fire to remove excess vegetation under specific environmental conditions that allow fire to be confined to a predetermined area.   Understory burning produces fire behavior and fire characteristics required to attain planned fire and resource management objectives.

Each operation follows a specialized prescribed fire burn plan, which considers temperature, humidity, wind, moisture of the vegetation, and conditions for the dispersal of smoke.  All this information is used to decide when and where to burn.

Smoke from prescribed fire operations is normal and may continue for several days after an ignition depending on the project size and environmental conditions. Prescribed fire smoke is generally less intense and of much shorter duration than smoke produced by wildland fires.

Agencies coordinate closely with local, county and state air pollution control districts and monitor weather conditions carefully prior to prescribed fire ignitions. They wait for favorable conditions that will carry smoke up and disperse it away from sensitive areas. Crews also conduct test burns before igniting a larger area, to verify how effectively materials are consumed and how smoke will travel.

Before prescribed fire operations are conducted, agencies post road signs around areas affected by prescribed fire, send email notifications and update the local fire information line maintained by the USDA Forest Service at 530-543-2816. The TFFT gives as much advance notice as possible before burning, but some operations may be conducted on short notice due to the small window of opportunity to conduct these operations.

To learn more about the benefits of prescribed fire, visit


About the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team


The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) consists of representatives of Tahoe Basin fire agencies, CAL FIRE, Nevada Division of Forestry and related state agencies, University of California and Nevada Cooperative Extensions, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the USDA Forest Service, conservation districts from both states, the California Tahoe Conservancy and the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. Our Mission is to protect lives, property and the environment within the Lake Tahoe Basin from wildfire by implementing prioritized fuels reduction projects and engaging the public in becoming a Fire Adapted Community.


For more information, visit

Fire restrictions lifted in South Lake Tahoe and Meyers

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – A burn ban in the Lake Tahoe Basin was put in place this summer in response to the unprecedented and extreme fire conditions in California. While there were no major fires in the Basin there were record setting acres burned across the state.

A ban of charcoal barbeques, wood fire pits and open burning was but in place along with extra bans during Red Flag Warning conditions.

With the arrival of winter snow, South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue and Lake Valley Fire Protection District have lifted the ban in the City of South Lake Tahoe and lake portion of El Dorado County. The Forest Service have not released their ban as of Tuesday morning.

● City of South Lake Tahoe – Charcoal BBQs and cooking fires are allowed. Natural Gas (NG) or Propane (LPG) outdoor firepits and barbecues, and pellet grills/smokers are allowed. Solid fuel recreational/warming fires and open burns are NOT allowed.

● Meyers and El Dorado County portions of the Lake Tahoe Basin – Charcoal BBQs and cooking fires are allowed. Natural Gas (NG) or Propane (LPG) outdoor firepits and barbecues, and pellet grills/smokers are allowed. Solid fuel recreational/warming fires are allowed in properly constructed or manufactured firepits. Open burning is still suspended until further notice.

Local South Lake Tahoe fire agency personnel are telling the public they appreciate their adherence to the recent fire restrictions, but ask they remain cognizant and report hazardous fires by dialing 9-1-1.

It is very important to follow manufacturer recommended instructions on the proper care and maintenance of barbecues and/or firepits.

For more information, contact South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue at (530) 542-6160 or Lake Valley Fire Protection District (530) 577-3737.