Rangers urge visitors to practice campfire safety at Tahoe Natl. Forest

Tahoe Natl. Forest reports increase in unattended campfires
Published: Jul. 31, 2020 at 9:25 AM PDT
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Tahoe National Forest, Calif. (KOLO) -With more than 70 illegal campfires across the Tahoe National Forest this year, abandoned and escaped campfires continue to remain a threat.

Jonathan Cook-Fisher is a district ranger on the Truckee ranger district for the Tahoe National Forest.

“There’s significant risk to local communities,” explained Cook-Fisher. You have the risk to public infrastructure, roads bridges and recreation sites and there’s a real risk to those places we all love visiting and recreating.”

No campfires sign
No campfires sign(KOLO)

Tahoe National Forest has seen an uptick in visitors this year.

"Our campgrounds are regularly full so folks are looking for camping opportunities and we welcome that," said Cook-Fisher.

However when camping outside of designated areas, you should know the rules of use and when campfires aren't allowed...

"We've had almost twenty campfires that have spread into the vegetation requiring a full suppression response," added Cook-Fisher.

Just north of the Stampede Reservoir, a 2 acre fire scorched the surrounding area and the devastation is clear to see...

"If our firefighters are responding to illegal and abandoned campfires then we have less resources to respond to the natural caused fires like lightning," added Cook-Fisher

Cook-Fisher said with the changes in precipitation pattern, the possibility of year round fires in the northern Sierra also isn’t out of the ordinary.

“Given the timing of the year and the resources on hand, we’ve been very lucky,” said Cook-Fisher. “As we get into late summer and the fall more than ever, we’re going to need the public’s participation and compliance with the rules and use of campfires.”

For a list of locations where campfires are allowed at the Tahoe National Forest, click here.

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