Relief at Upper Echo Lake Overshadowed by Prescribed Burns Elsewhere in the Region

On the heels of a settlement agreement that signals the end of the Forest Service's plans to cut, pile, and burn vegetation around Upper Echo Lake south of Lake Tahoe, there are grim reminders of continuing agency mismanagement of forestry resources in the vicinity.

First, prescribed burns in the El Dorado and Lake Tahoe National Forests contributed to poor air quality in the region, as reported here.  This led regulators to encourage Washoe County residents to stay indoors.

Second, according to reporter Jason Hidalgo, the Little Valley Fire, which has destroyed dozens of homes and other buildings in Washoe Valley, may have been caused by prescribed burns in the area.

Federal and state forestry agencies are staunch advocates for prescribed burns.  We wonder if there is empirical research to support their position.  At least one expert thinks otherwise as reported some time ago on the NEPA Lab blog.  Robert E. Keane in his book Wildland Fuel Fundamentals and Application (Springer 2015) comes to the conclusion that prescribed burns might be doing more harm than good.


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