Millions Needed for Tahoe Rehab Work

On top of the millions of dollars the Angora fire already has cost in terms of lost homes and suppression of the blaze, federal experts say it will take another $2.2 million to begin rehabilitation efforts.

The Forest Service report said the blaze at the south end of Lake Tahoe could pose significant and lasting effects for the lake.

"It cannot be overstated that Lake Tahoe is a significant water of national and even international recognition," the report said. "The effects of ash and sediment delivery to Lake Tahoe from the Angora Fire, while not chronic, will nonetheless be a cumulative effect in a situation in which there is a substantial concern over a treasured resource."

Sparked June 24 by an illegal campfire, the Angora Fire raged through 3,100 acres south of South Lake Tahoe and east of Fallen Leaf Lake. It destroyed more than 200 homes in the first day but burned for more than a week.

An army of firefighters descended on Tahoe, containing the blaze
on July 2. The cost of suppressing the fire was $12.1 million.

The report predicts a high probability that the first significant rain event will cause a high concentration of ash to be carried into the Upper Truckee River, Lake Tahoe's largest tributary. The team also predicts much of the residential property affected by the fire will be susceptible to post-fire threats.

To help reduce runoff-related sediment problems, the team recommends hydromulch seeding by helicopter, which lays down a
carpet of mulch and seeds. Aerial seeding represents the bulk of emergency restoration costs at a cost of more than $1.5 million.

The team's rehabilitation recommendations precede longer-term measures needed to fully restore the landscape charred by the Angora Fire.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)