TRPA HONORS FIRE CHIEFS, SUPPORTS WILDFIRE AWARENESS WEEK

Stateline, NV – The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board passed a resolution in support of Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week and thanked the Tahoe Basin Fire Chiefs for their service during a ceremony at their May 26 Governing Board meeting.

“Next month marks the five-year anniversary of the Angora Wildfire,” said El Dorado Supervisor and TRPA Governing Board Chair, Norma Santiago. “With the increased risk of wildfire due to current dry conditions, this is an important time to support and encourage participation in Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week as well as to discuss how far we have come since the tragic events of June 2007.”

The Angora Wildfire began on June 24, 2007 as a result of an illegal campfire. It spread four miles in three hours and burned more than 250 homes and structures on 3,100 acres. A Bi-State Fire Commission was formed by then Governors Schwarzenegger and Gibbons to investigate the tragedy. The Fire Commission made 28 TRPA-specific recommendations including 45 Action Items of which TRPA has implemented nearly all.

Chief Mike Brown of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District spoke during the ceremony honoring the Basin’s Fire Chiefs stating, “We would like to thank the Agency for its cooperation and partnership in the areas of fuels reduction, defensible space, public safety and the safety of Tahoe Basin.”

He also spoke of how important it was for members of the public to create defensible space around their homes and to take advantage of the public education events taking place during Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week from May 26 to June 3.

In addition to Brown, other Basin Fire Chiefs present at the TRPA ceremony were Chief John Pang, Meeks Bay Fire Protection District, Chief Ben Sharit, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, Chief Gareth Harris, Lake Valley Fire Protection District, Chief Gary Gerren, Fallen Leaf Lake Fire Department, and Chief Peter Poe of the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. Each Fire Chief was presented with a plaque by Santiago that read:

In remembrance of the 5th anniversary of the Angora Wildfire, The Governing Board and Staff of TRPA would like to thank (each District Chief), with gratitude for your entire crew’s courageous dedication to the safety and security of our Lake Tahoe environment and community. We will never forget the Angora Wildfire and the brave men and women who continue to keep us safe. Thank you for your ongoing partnership.

Also honored were four recently retired Basin Fire Chiefs including: Duane Whitelaw, North Tahoe Fire Protection District, Jeff Michael, Lake Valley Fire Protection District, Guy LeFever, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, and Lorenzo Gigliotti, South Lake Tahoe Fire Department.

Public Comment on the Regional Plan Update

After the ceremony, public comment was again taken on the draft Regional Plan Update, Regional Transportation Plan and their environmental documents. Of the approximately 50 members of the public who provided comment during the May Governing Board’s two-day hearing, approximately two-to-one were in support of the direction of the Regional Plan Update.

In her opening remarks before taking public comment on Thursday, Santiago stated, “The Regional Plan Update is a defining document for the Tahoe Basin. It’s not about TRPA,” she explained. “It’s about our community, the Lake and the sustainability of the Basin.”

TRPA has scheduled three more public hearings before the close of public comment on the Regional Plan Update and Regional Transportation Plan environmental documents on June 28 including:

· June 11, 2012 – 9:30 a.m. Advisory Planning Commission, TRPA Office Board Rooms, 128 Market Street, Stateline, NV.

· June 27, 2012 – 9:30 a.m. TRPA Governing Board public hearings, North Tahoe Events Center, 8318 North Lake Boulevard, Kings Beach, CA.

· June 28, 2012 – 9:30 a.m. TRPA Governing Board public hearings, TRPA Office Board Rooms, 128 Market Street, Stateline, NV.

The public can also send comments on the Lake Tahoe Regional Plan Update to regionalplancomments@trpa.org or on the Regional Transportation Plan to mobility2035comments@trpa.org

To learn more about Lake Tahoe Wildfire Awareness Week events visit www.livingwithfire.info/tahoe. To learn more about the Regional Plan Update visit www.trpa.org.

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency cooperatively leads the effort to preserve, restore, and enhance the unique natural and human environment of the Lake Tahoe Region now and in the future. For additional information, call Kristi Boosman at (775) 589-5230 or send an email to kboosman@trpa.org .