Fire Safety + Debris Burning
Tahoe Donner Forestry Department works closely with local authorities to ensure proper safety and air quality standards are met. If there are any immediate concerns, please reach out to local authorities. Homeowners should anticipate the occurrence of prescribed burn activities on open lands as soon as the fire marshal has lifted the burn ban (2022 ban lifted on November 2. 2022). Prescribed fire activity is expected in and around the Tahoe National Forest. Learn more about the listed burn suspension order from CAL FIRE and the Truckee Fire Department.
To learn more about wildfire intensity and how it correlates to fuel treatment efforts, we encourage you to watch the following two videos.
Land management objectives encompass a variety of themes, including enhancing fire protection, increasing forest health, removing invasive species, maximizing human recreation, maintaining diverse wildlife and protecting threatened and endangered species. One of the most important objectives of land management, however, is to keep the membership safe, and that is largely done by reducing the threat of wildfire. To see a map of land management and fire history, click here.
Forestry Department’s Prescribed Burn Plan
Part of the defensible space/fire hazard mitigation program is prescribed burning of brush piles, which is industry standard practice on local, state and federal levels.
Tahoe Donner’s Forestry Department crew burns seasonally between October 15 and June 1. CAL FIRE will lift the burn ban only after there’s been a fair amount of precipitation with continued wet weather in the forecast.
Historically, Tahoe Donner has burned 90-100% of material created from forest management activities. Since the purchase of a tracked chipper beginning in 2006, Tahoe Donner now chips 50% of material. Due to high volume, access and desired fuel conditions to be left on site, it is impossible to chip all material each year.
Tahoe Donner’s Forestry Department meets with Truckee Fire Protection District and CAL FIRE on a regular basis to coordinate and discuss its forestry/prescribed burn plan. A project burning permit from CAL FIRE along with a Smoke Management Plan and Air Pollution Permit from the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District are required.
Read more about Tahoe Donner’s prescribed burn procedures.
Residential Burn Permits
You must get your permit from either Truckee Fire Protection District or CAL FIRE. Truckee Fire Protection District stations are located at 11473 Donner Pass Road, 10049 Donner Pass Road or 10277 Truckee Tahoe Airport Road, which is a combined Truckee Fire Protection District and CAL FIRE station. Burn season occurs every year when the burn ban is lifted (usually around October 15) until the burn ban is enacted (somewhere around June 15). The burn season is dependent on fuel moisture and weather conditions.
IN TAHOE DONNER, DEBRIS BURNING IS ALLOWED FROM THE TIME THE UNIT CHIEF OF THE LOCAL CAL FIRE UNIT LIFTS THE BURN BAN UNTIL MARCH 31 OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR. DEBRIS BURNING IS NOT ALLOWED IN SPRINGTIME EACH YEAR.
Terms For Backyard Burn Permits
- Before burning, call Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District at (530) 582-1027 to see if it is a permissible burn day.
- Maximum pile size four feet in diameter.
- Area within 10 feet of the outer edge of the pile is maintained free and clear of all flammable material and vegetation.
- Responsible person in attendance with shovel until fire is dead out.
- Water supply at burning site.
- No burning shall be undertaken unless weather conditions (particularly wind) are such that burning can be considered safe.
For terms on the banning of open burning and recreational fires during high-fire conditions, visit the Truckee Fire Protection website to learn more about Ordinance 03-2019: Banning of Open Burning and Recreational Fires during High Fire Conditions.