NV Energy, Nevada Officials Create Fuel Break After Tamarack Fire Left 1,300 Residents Without Power
The Tamarack Fire left roughly 1,300 Nevadans without power in late July after destroying power poles. Since then, the state and its public utility company have been working to keep that from happening again.
Jesse Murray stood on freshly dug dirt. Roots from sagebrush were sticking out of the ground from where the bushes were dragged away.
Murray handles natural disaster protection for NV Energy. The power company has been clearing vegetation around wooden power poles throughout the Carson Valley and South Lake Tahoe areas.
“So this is now a fuel break that the fire potentially could not cross and that the fire crews could make a stand at if the fire did move into this area,” Murray said.
He said the clearing is protecting the community, and their electricity, in case the Caldor Fire were to creep closer.
Back in late July, a wildfire did get too close. The Tamarack Fire destroyed 92 power poles south of Gardnerville. The damage left some people without power for a day, others for a week.
“A community can’t really return in full force until they have the electricity back on,” Murray said.
Nevada Democratic State Senator Chris Brooks from Southern Nevada sponsored the legislation in 2019.
“We’ll keep up the work because it’s real easy, when the fire isn’t burning, to forget about it,” Brooks said.
Brooks was joined by Governor Steve Sisolak last Friday. The two lawmakers toured some of the fire mitigation efforts along a road in Gardnerville.
“This is saving a lot of structures, a lot of damage, but potentially a lot of lives,” Sisolak said.
NV Energy’s wildfire mitigation plan ensures fuel breaks remain clear as plants grow back, along with monitoring and upgrading power poles in fire-prone areas.
As a note of disclosure, NV Energy is an underwriter for this station.