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The first ever WildFire Awareness Week event drew over 600 spectators to the Montbleu resort Memorial Day weekend. It fetured baloon rides on the famous Smokey the Bear baloon, making its first ever appearance in Lake Tahoe, as well as firefighter gear demonstrations and representatives from many local, state, and federal agencies.
For the individual homeowner, the key thing they can do to protect their home from the risk of being consumed in a catastrophic wildfire is to have good defensible space. LivingWithFire.info reccomends at least 30 feet of non-flammable plants, with a stone drainage between any vegitation and your house and a 100 foot "lean, clean, and green" area around your home if possible. The TRPA used to reccomend that people leave their pine needles in their yard for water quality, the new reccomendation is to clean the entire defensible space area of all dead material.
Lake Tahoe Master Gardeners has provided a list of plants to be sure to avoid in the 30ft area including:
- Pines and Firs
- Huckleberry Oak
He continued, "It's a lot lighter, so they're more agile on the fire line, and yet it affords some protection against fire brands and fire exposure. So it's designed to keep them a little cooler and a little bit more agile but yet provide for protection."
Wildland firefighters also have to contend with the weight of carrying a portable fire shelter, a hose, a supply of water, and tools for cutting fire lines and setting backfires.