Share responsibility for fire preparedness
North Lake Tahoe Bonanza: Gazing across Lake Tahoe, the ravages of the Angora Fire are shrouded in smoke, but one thing is perfectly clear.
Tahoe Basin residents must be prepared for wildfires.
In less than 24 hours from its beginning on Sunday afternoon, the Angora Fire consumed nearly 220 homes and buildings in a wind-whipped conflagration that moved with fericious quickness. It left personal heartbreak, environmental devastation, and, amazingly, a lot of finger pointing already.
Who is at fault for the fire?
It is believed to be human-caused, but the finger pointing is going further than that.
Did the U.S. Forest Service not managed the forest well and clean up the lots?
Are policies by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency at fault?
Are some pro-environment groups, like League to Save Lake Tahoe, at fault for advocating forest protection at the expense of proper management of hazardous fuels?
Is the federal government at fault for not providing enough funds for the U.S. Forest Service to clear more acreage of hazardous fuels?
The questions could go on and on, and emotional South Tahoe residents pointed the finger especially at the TRPA during a community meeting Tuesday.
But residents should remember, when you are pointing a finger at a scapegoat, the rest of your fingers are pointing straight back at you.
Wildfires occur and nature’s forces often cannot be contained, no matter how prepared you are. All we can do as humans who live in an urban/forest interface is to make sure each individual is doing his or her part.
Each homeowner needs to make sure defensible space is properly done and maintained on their property.
Support is needed for our local fire district who is aggressively conducting defensible space checks and managing fuels around our community.
Legislators should be urged by their constituents to continue to fund projects for forest health.
And be prepared.
The North Lake Tahoe Bonanza published a series of stories in May which asked our community, "Are we prepared?" They provided practical advice on emergency prepardness kits, escape routes, and how to be prepared with your animals. Those stories can be accessed on www.tahoebonanza.com. If you are looking for defensible space information, visit the Web site for the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, www.nltfpd.net. Or, attend the Living with Fire presentation on July 1 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sierra Nevada College and the Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences.
The Angora Fire was an extreme fire event and although people are lamenting over the loss of their homes, no one is grieving over the loss of life. The people who lived in the area of the Angora Fire, as well as the firefighters and emergency personnel who took charge, should be commended because they were prepared enough to prevent fatalities.
We should look around at Incline Village, and make sure we are prepared as well.