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KUNR Today: Wildfires Are Top Of Mind At Tahoe Summit, WCSO Warns Burners Of Harsh Desert Conditions

Secretary Haaland is standing behind a podium in front of Lake Tahoe. It’s a hazy day, but the sky is blue. A placard that reads “Lake Tahoe Summit 2021” is posted to the podium. Several individuals are sitting in chairs around her.
Courtesy of The Tahoe Fund
U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland was the keynote speaker for the 2021 Lake Tahoe Summit at King’s Beach, Calif., on Aug. 19, 2021.";

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Friday, Aug. 20, 2021.

KUNR is providing updates on the Dixie Fire as they relate to Susanville and our listening area. Visit our live blog to view recent updates.

Wildfires Are Top Of Mind At Tahoe Summit
By Paul Boger

For the last 25 years, federal and state leaders from California and Nevada have met annually to discuss ongoing partnerships aimed at protecting Lake Tahoe as massive wildfires and climate change continue to threaten the Tahoe Basin.

The annual meetings have traditionally focused on keeping Lake Tahoe blue and able to withstand invasive species, warming water temperatures and human intervention. But over the past several years, explosive wildfires have brought concerns that particulates like ash from smoke could threaten Tahoe’s famed clarity.

Keynote speaker U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said that’s why the federal government has taken steps to hire more full-time firefighters and increase pay.

“With so little room for error, we must remain steadfast in our commitment to wildland fire preparedness, mitigation and resilience,” Haaland said.

In May, federal lawmakers in California and Nevada introduced a bill reauthorizing the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act until 2034, which infuses millions of dollars into protection plans.

Washoe County Sheriff Warns Potential Burners About Harsh Conditions
By Paul Boger

The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is advising anyone who plans to visit the Black Rock Desert for unofficial Burning Man festivities to use extreme caution.

On Facebook, sheriff’s deputies posted pictures of the playa about 100 miles northeast of Reno shrouded in dense haze, increasing the possibility of vehicle crashes on the playa. The post asks potential visitors whether they want to contend with spotty cell phone service, lack of bathrooms and medical services. It also notes the nearest trauma hospital is about three hours away.

The Bureau of Land Management has also issued camping, fire and other restrictions that impact the Black Rock Desert through the end of October.

Burning Man organizers announced in March that the annual counter-culture event would take place virtually for the second year in a row.

Lawmakers Reject DMV Plan To Refund Unconstitutional Fee
By The Associated Press

Nevada lawmakers aren’t sure how the state should reimburse people who paid a Department of Motor Vehicles fee that the state Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional. A finance committee on Wednesday did not approve the department’s proposal to send postcards outlining how individuals could request paper checks or online transfers. The Democratic majority on the committee stressed ensuring the process didn’t prompt lawsuits. The reimbursements will conclude a legislative battle over the Legislature’s supermajority requirement. The state Supreme Court ruled lawmakers needed two-thirds support to extend taxes and fees beyond their sunset dates, forcing lawmakers to rebalance their budget and refund those who paid taxes and fees extended in 2019.

Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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