Tahoe Summit Draws Concern For Wildfire Threat In Basin

Aug 21, 2019

During Tuesday’s annual Tahoe Summit, big political names from Nevada and California touted Lake Tahoe’s clarity, and efforts to keep it clear.

However, this year, the focus shifted to the forests beyond the shores. 

“Fire season’s just starting,” said California Governor Gavin Newsom. In a joint environmentally-focused summit with several Nevada politicians, Newsom touted what California has done to battle climate change, specifically when it comes to fighting ever-growing wildfires.

“There’s this false sense that we have somehow escaped the worst of things, when we are actually into potentially the worst part of the season,” Newsom said.

Like many areas in the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe faces overgrowth of area forests, as well as high tourism, which can contribute to the fire danger of the Tahoe Basin. Nevada’s US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto said additional federal funding specifically for fire is expected to be distributed in 2020.

“In the past, they were always having to borrow money from their existing accounts,” Cortez Masto said. “So, what we have done is put over $2 billion into a seperate account for the Forest Service, as well as the Interior Department, to tap into now for firefighting.”

In the meantime, both states have been ramping up forest treatments in recent months. Their work comes despite record amounts of snow and a government shutdown in January and February, which halted the prescribed burn season in the Tahoe Basin for 35 days.