TRPA Board Recognizes Departing Fire Chiefs, Wildfire Awareness Week as Critical to Lake Tahoe’s Protection

Lake Tahoe, CA/NV— With record drought conditions in the West, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) Governing Board underscored its commitment to improving forest health and protecting Lake Tahoe communities from wildfire today by adopting a resolution supporting the 2014 Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Month and giving special recognition to two departing Lake Tahoe fire chiefs at its meeting in Kings Beach, Calif.

Lake Tahoe fire agencies have designated May 2014 as Wildfire Awareness Month in the Tahoe Basin and are encouraging homeowners this year to prepare their homes for wildfire with a focus on creating and sustaining Fire Adapted Communities. Residents of a Fire Adapted Community accept responsibility for living in a high fire-hazard area, work to create defensible space and reduce fuels around structures, and work with neighbors to integrate defensible space throughout neighborhoods. The TRPA board resolution today supports Fire Adapted Communities as critical to protecting Lake Tahoe’s environment and communities.

“Homeowners are the key to keeping communities safe,” TRPA Forestry Program Manager Mike Vollmer said. “Thinning trees and raking pine needles around homes is just as important to reduce the threat of massive wildfire as a 10,000-acre fuel reduction project.”

To round out a month of wildfire awareness activities hosted by partner agencies around the Basin, TRPA presented an update and overview of catastrophic wildfire prevention efforts to date, including the Agency’s

Blackwood Creek Forest Stand Before Treatment

support for homeowner defensible space and the effort to reduce forest fuels on more than 60,000 acres of land in the Tahoe Basin.

Same stand following treatment.

The TRPA Board also adopted special proclamations today honoring the service of two fire chiefs who retired this year. Chief John Pang of Meeks Bay Fire Protection District and Chief Norb Sczurek of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District accepted accolades from the Governing Board for their years of service and for their instrumental roles in the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT). The TFFT was formed in 2007 following two devastating Lake Tahoe wildfires that consumed hundreds of homes.

“Thank you for your efforts and enthusiasm and the great job you have done,” Vollmer said. “I know you will be missed.”

TRPA also announced the hiring of a new forester to run the Agency’s tree removal permitting program. Mary Huggins, who was previously Tahoe Basin and Alpine County Division Chief for Cal Fire and fire agency representative on the TRPA Advisory Planning Commission, has been hired to fill an open position on TRPA staff and will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the Agency, according to TRPA.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency leads the cooperative effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region, while improving local communities, and people’s interactions with our irreplaceable environment. For additional information, call Jeff Cowen at (775) 589-5278 or email to

MEDIA RELEASE–Wildfire Resolution Chief Recognition GB 5-28-14