TRPA supports forest ecosystem health and fire defensible space. Lake Tahoe’s forests suffer from the legacy effects of fire suppression, logging practices, and lack of active forest management. TRPA works with partners through the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program to support a healthy forest ecosystem. We also work with the public to help them remove hazardous trees and create defensible space around their homes and structures.
Climate change is pushing extreme weather, prolonged drought, and megafires to a new level. Lake Tahoe must do more to adapt to the new realities and holistically address environmental resilience and community sustainability. Our goal is to increase the pace and scale of forest restoration to adapt to new threats from drought, insects, disease, and catastrophic wildfire.
Visit Lake Tahoe Info to learn about forest health projects.
Collaboration is Key
TRPA helped form the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) following the Angora Wildfire of 2007. The TFFT is made up of 22 different entities that work together to implement projects that restore forest health and protect Tahoe communities. The group also leads public education campaigns to teach residents how to prevent as well as prepare for wildfire. Partners have conducted thousands of defensible space inspections annually and completed tens of thousands of acres of forest treatments, including hand and mechanical thinning, and prescribed burning.
For more information on the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team’s strategy, check out the Lake Tahoe Forest Action Plan.
Community Wildfire Protection
People living in fire-adapted communities proactively mitigate the risks of catastrophic fires by removing flammable vegetation, hazardous trees, and creating defensible space around their homes and structures. Meanwhile, partners assess and treat utility corridors, high-risk areas, and important community locales such as hospitals and schools. Learn more about what you can do to become a fire-adapted community at Tahoe Living With Fire.
The Caldor Fire
The Caldor Fire of 2021 burned more than 220,000 acres and shone a national spotlight on the importance of forest health. When the fire entered the Tahoe Basin, firefighters were able to save Lake Tahoe communities thanks in part to preparation and coordination by the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team. Visit the USDA Forest Service Caldor Fire Story for more information.
The Angora Fire
On June 24, 2007, an illegal campfire spread into the parched forest in South Lake Tahoe. The fire exploded, burning 3,100 acres and 254 structures in a matter of hours, and permanently altering the landscape. The Angora Wildfire illustrated that Tahoe’s forests desperately needed thinning and accelerated the work to better manage land in the basin.
Since then, the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team has completed more than 70,000 acres of treatments to thin overstocked forests. TRPA streamlined the permit process to remove trees deemed hazardous for fire and allows Lake Tahoe’s seven fire districts to issue permits to remove trees for defensible space. TRPA also altered regulations to allow homeowners to remove small trees – those 14 inches in diameter or less – without any permit being necessary. These changes, along with others made by TRPA and Lahontan Water Board, simplified permitting without sacrificing environmental safeguards.