Being Water Smart and Fire Smart work hand in hand.  While late summer is a good time to check your irrigation systems to reduce runoff and conserve water, it is the time to consider the watering needs of your plants.  It is true, healthy plants are less likely to catch fire than weakened ones, but the real key is to have the right plants in the right places.

Consider that fire was once part of the natural processes of the Lake Tahoe ecosystem.  Many of the native plants evolved with regular episodes of fire.  These smaller and more frequent fires removed the undergrowth of small or diseased trees and lightened the fuel load.  Today the forest has grown back without the balance.  The trees compete for limited water and nutrients which reduces the diversity and spectrum of trees and plants as well as the overall health of the forest.  At Kingsbury Grade, we live in the forest and the urbanization with combustible structures is additional peril for fire.

It is possible to restore a healthy forest and reduce the hazards from fire by mimicking the natural affects by thinning and trimming the trees and shrubs.  Enhance the natural landscape by restoring the health of the soils and promoting diversity of the planting.  Planning for defensible space combined with good landscaping practices will assists in reducing fire risk while promoting water conservation.

There are online resources to assist you.

https://naes.agnt.unr.edu/PMS/Pubs/1510_2009_87.pdf

tahoe.livingwithfire.info