Prescribed fire operations resume in the Tahoe Basin

May 1st, 2020

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Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team

Contact:  USDA Forest Service, Lisa Herron


Prescribed fire operations resume in the Tahoe Basin    

Lake Tahoe, Calif./Nev.  – The Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) has resumed prescribed fire operations in the Tahoe Basin. California State Parks is currently conducting operations at Burton Creek State Park on Tahoe’s northwest shore and will continue over the next three weeks, weather permitting. Smoke may be visible. View map with project locations/details at and sign-up for prescribed fire notifications by sending an email to

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

Prescribed fire operations are conducted whenever weather, conditions and staffing allow to reduce excess vegetation that can feed unwanted wildland fires. Planned fires now reduce the threat of unplanned fires later, which helps provide increased community protection. Fire is a natural process in the Sierra Nevada and helps keep our forests healthy by minimizing the spread of insects and disease, recycling nutrients back into the soil and promoting improved habitat for diverse vegetation and wildlife.

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 unwanted 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 smoke 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 Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit 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 for conducting these operations.

To learn more about the benefits 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 about the TFFT, visit