WILDFIRE & SMOKE UPDATES FOR THE TAHOE BASIN
While there are currently no active fires burning within Placer County, the smoke and air quality conditions, specifically in the Lake Tahoe Basin, have been devastating. Most of the smoke you are seeing and breathing is coming from the Caldor Fires (El Dorado County) and the Dixie Fire (Butte County), bringing our area relentless and unprecedented drift smoke from both directions. Please note that Placer County Public Health and Placer County Air Pollution Control District have extended the joint air quality advisory through Friday, August 27. CLICK HERE for more information on air quality and smoke including ways you can reduce your smoke exposure.
While there are no current evacuation orders or warnings issued to the Lake Tahoe area – these fires and the resulting smoke are yet another unfortunate and humbling reminder that wildfire can strike at anytime and anywhere – we MUST be prepared. The time is NOW to plan, prepare, stay aware and know your evacuation routes. Please CLICK HERE to view Cal Fire’s wildfire evacuation guide. I also encourage you to visit the CalFire website for information on ways to prepare for wildfire including; getting your to-go kit ready, creating a wildfire action plan, and preparing now.
SIGN UP FOR PLACER ALERT – it is the single best way to stay informed in an emergency.
Please be vigilant with your actions, stay safe, and keep your thoughts with everyone who is currently dealing with wildfire firsthand. I also want to extend my utmost appreciation to the firefighter crews and emergency personnel for their bravery and hard work while they are actively fighting these fires.
Below is a letter I received on behalf of TRPA, providing a lot of important information and resources regarding the Caldor fire. Please share this information with community members, friends, and family.
Cindy Gustafson, District 5 Supervisor
LETTER SENT ON BEHALF OF TAHOE REGIONAL PLANNING AGENCY
The Caldor Fire has now been burning for a little over a week and the Incident Command team anticipates it will continue to burn and impact air quality for some time. As of 7am on August 24 it has burned 117,704 acres and is at 9% containment with 2119 personnel on the fire. These numbers are updated daily at 7am and 7pm on the incident command site, and is also where they post any updates throughout the day.
To offer some perspective, so far in 2021 we’ve seen over 1,570,000 acres burned in California alone. That’s a 42% increase from last year in CA during the same period. We are collecting the most current data for Nevada this season, which makes these numbers even more staggering. Climate change is propelling all of us towards a sobering and smokier reality.
Here are some highlights from the August 23 5pm community briefing and news from throughout the day:
- Boundaries: The Southwest corner (heel) is seeing good progress. (The south and west perimeter is toward the foothill communities). The spot fire north of Hwy 50 near Kyburz is spreading west, but not moving north or east. (North and east spread is toward Tahoe). There’s a new spot fire growing rapidly near the head (Northeast corner) that’s about 100 acres, but they anticipate the fire behavior should calm down in the evening. On the west flank, the fire has not crossed Sly Park Rd.
- Evacuations: There have been no evacuation orders or warnings in South Lake Tahoe (no change). While we are all concerned, this is good news that there is no imminent change for Tahoe’s communities.
- Weather: The weather is predicted to be similar to today through Wednesday. After that, winds decrease considerably and temperatures increase, which will likely cause the smoke to be trapped low in an inversion layer well into the weekend meaning continued smoke impacts.
- Air quality: Air quality is forecasted to be poor to hazardous throughout the week, with westerly winds continuing to push wildfire smoke with degraded air quality into the Sierra and western Nevada. Hazardous smoke is expected as long as there are active fire and fire runs, probably for some time. CLICK HERE for information about the smoke outlook for the region.
- Closures: California State Parks has closed DL Bliss State Park, Rubicon Trail, Ed Z’berg Sugar Pine Point State Park, and Emerald Bay State Park. The Conservancy has closed Van Sickle Bi-State Park and Tahoe Pines. There has been an additional forest closure along a portion of Humboldt-Toiyabe in California along the PCT and TRT.
- Caldor Fire Structure Status: View the GIS map showing boundary and showing structural damage and fire boundaries
There are a lot of uncertainties right now, but one thing that is sure is that the incident command team will be planning for days and weeks ahead depending on fire conditions. This looks like a very long slog. All partners are aligned in getting everyone back in their homes safely and as soon as possible. If you’d like to donate to support those who have or will be affected, CALfire recommends donating to the local American Red Cross. El Dorado County is part of the Sacramento Capital Region Chapter of the American Red Cross (ARC).
Stay informed and please stay safe,
Joanne S. Marchetta, Executive Director
Tahoe Regional Planning Agency
USDA FOREST SERVICE TEMPORARILY CLOSES NINE NORTHERN CALIFORNIA NATIONAL FORESTS FOR PUBLIC SAFETY
To better provide public and firefighter safety due to extreme fire conditions throughout northern California, and strained firefighting resources throughout the country, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region is announcing a temporary closure of nine National Forests. This closure will be effective through September 6, 2021 at 11:59pm. “Fires are running very quickly due to the drought conditions, dry fuels, and winds. This makes initial attack and containment very difficult and is even more challenging with strained resources who are battling more than 100 large fires across the country,” said Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “We do not take this decision lightly and understand how this impacts people who enjoy recreating on the National Forests. These temporary closures are necessary to ensure public and firefighter safety, as well as reduce the potential for new fire starts. I want to thank the public for your patience during this challenging situation.” READ MORE
Thanks to everyone that attended the Virtual Eastern Placer County Town Hall on Thursday, August 12. We received a great turnout with a lot of informational presentations on important topics including updates on Covid & vaccine, public agencies, housing and more. If you were unable to attend or simply want to revisit one of these topics, please visit the link below to watch the recording.
Please join us next Tuesday, August 31 for the Placer County Board of Supervisors meeting at the Domes in Auburn at 9am – both in person and virtual attendance is welcome. The agenda will be posted HERE once it is available. One agenda item to note is the public hearing to consider an extension of an Urgency Ordinance Establishing a Moratorium on the issuance of New Short-Term Rental Permits Pursuant to Placer County Code Chapter 9, Article 9.42. READ NOTICE
GROVE STREET SIGNAL | DID IT HELP?
In order to try new ways to alleviate traffic in North Lake Tahoe, we installed a temporary traffic light at Grove Street and state Route 28 in Tahoe City. This temporary pilot project is intended to help control heavy pedestrian crossings that affect traffic every summer. Now we want your feedback! Did it help? Should we make it permanent? Help us make an informed decision on the future of the program by filling out a quick survey today! TAKE SURVEY
The Placer County Elections Office still needs poll workers in North Lake Tahoe for the upcoming September 14 California gubernatorial recall election. Poll workers who are bilingual in Spanish are in special need, too. A training class for election poll workers will be held in North Lake Tahoe on September 9. LEARN MORE
Registered voters in Placer County should start checking their mailboxes for the Sept. 14 California gubernatorial recall election voter information guide and vote-by-mail ballots. LEARN MORE
175 Fulweiler Ave., Auburn, CA 95603
Supervisor Cindy Gustafson: cindygustafson@
District Aide Kelly McCaughna: kmccaughna@placer.
District Aide Sophie Fox: email@example.com
Assistant District Aide Lindsay Thayer: firstname.lastname@example.org