unedited sept. tahoe mt. news article:
By Kathryn Reed
“The fire danger in the Forest is higher than it was when the 16,000-acre Power and 8,000-acre Fred’s fires started in 2004. It’s higher than 2001 when the 16,000-acre Star Fire started, and it’s higher than 1992 when the 24,500-acre Cleveland fire started.”
Those are the prophetic words of Bob Patson with the Eldorado National Forest as written in the Aug. 31 San Francisco Chronicle.
That day Sorensen’s Resort was threatened by fire and evacuated for the first time in its history. About 200 acres were consumed near highways 88 and 89. It was dubbed the Burnside Fire because of the name of the road where the blaze started.
With no measurable rain this summer, wicked winds over Labor Day and sporadic red flag warning days, fire is an increasing risk throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin even as summer fades to fall.
At the annual environmental summit on Aug. 16 more money was allocated to help deal with the lingering issue of overgrown forests in the basin. It, more than Lake clarity, was the focus of the pundits.
Secretary of Interior Dirk Kempthorne that day allocated $140 million for wildfire protection, conservation, restoration and capital improvement. The bulk of the funds goes to Nevada because the money is from the Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act.
Where does the Lake Tahoe money go?
• $6.6 million for hazardous fuels reduction projects at Lake Tahoe and $4.4 million for the Carson Range in Nevada;
• $24 million for Lake Tahoe restoration projects includes $19 million for watershed and habitat improvement, $270,000 for air quality and transportation, more than $500,000 for recreation and scenic, and $3.75 million for science and research;
• $30 million to ensure that the full $300 million federal funding commitment will be met for the Environmental Improvement Program.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was supposed to be at Valhalla for the 12th annual festivities. Instead, he had surgery on his meniscus in Los Angeles. Hostess Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., hobbled to the stage and had to be carted off via car because she had fallen the day before at Meeks Bay. It turned out she had broken her ankle. Even though she made it to the summit, the injury kept her from going to the Democratic National Convention later that month.