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State parks clearing fire fuels

Karen Woodmansee
Appeal Staff Writer
 

Hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2004 Waterfall fire, Nevada State Parks is reducing potential fire hazards in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park areas.

Crews are clearing brush, dead trees and other fuels, some of which will be cut into firewood for area residents to purchase.

About 34 acres have been cleared since the 2004 fire, mostly by hand crews because of the steep terrain.

Peter Maholland, conservation staff specialist for Nevada State Parks, said contracted hand crews will separate the fuels into wood stacks, do chipping and create burn piles which will be destroyed when it’s safe.

“We had inmates, up until the fire started in California,” he said. “They’re up there now.”

The piles are kept away from the forest, he said, and would be burned in the winter.

The crews are clearing fuels from Sand Harbor to the Hobart Reservoir.

“We’re going to be selling a good portion of it off as fuel later,” he said. “Around August we start taking calls for permits.”

Maholland said the permits would cost $45 per cord, and the purchasers would have to retrieve and load the wood themselves.

David Morrow, state parks administrator, said last year the division worked together with the Nevada Division of Forestry to create a 10-year, fuels- management plan.

This work is being funded by a $150,000 appropriation from Nevada Legislature, Division of Forestry State Fire Assistance grants and a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Program grant from the Division of Emergency Management.

The fuels-reduction effort and improvements to the Marlette Water System this summer could bring about temporary road closures during weekdays.

– Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.