Angora Fire Proved What the Area is Capable of
Supervisor Norma Santiago, Lake Tahoe News, June 14, 2012Memories of the Angora Fire and its aftermath can renew feelings of pain, despair and loss. There are some of us who, with each anniversary, take time to reflect on the events of that day. Some look at the rebuilt homes, neighbors settled in, and new landscape with gratitude, but long for those special things that can never be replaced; a gift from a child, a family portrait, a treasured knick-knack. Each year, as we meditate or pray in gratitude, we also reflect with reverence.
Angora Fire -- 5 years later
In the five years since the fire, some of us feel “healed”. With the exception of physical scars in the surrounding forests, we look very healthy. Some of the burned out lots have been replaced with neighborhood gardens or places of meditation created by property owners. Beautiful homes have been rebuilt a little larger than before and in record time (80 percent were rebuilt one and a half years after the fire – unprecedented in the state of California). Empty lots were sold to new families who wanted to build a new home in this area. There are aspen groves along creeks once hidden in a thick forest that are now visible. Wildlife has returned with even certain species not seen for a while. And, the forest, thanks to many, is being replanted with not only the Jeffery pine, but also, cedar, and sugar pine so that over the course of many, many years the forest will be more diversified.
I think back to a few weeks before the fire, the Tahoe Resource Conservation District had an outdoor community workshop on Boulder Mountain as an educational opportunity for the surrounding area to learn about best management practices, invasive weeds, and even defensible space. Kim Carr, then working for EDAW (a private environmental consulting firm), put together a poster showing the integration of BMPs, defensible space and water conservation. Attendees asked about their decks, pine needles, BMPs, and a host of other concerns and issues.
Another tragic irony is that just two weeks before the fire, I walked along Mt. Shasta with Jessica Mahnken, then with Lake Valley Fire Protection District, distributing “Living with Fire” information. It was painfully incongruent that this effort and the enthusiasm we shared in reducing the risk of wildland fire be followed so closely by the events of the Angora Fire.
Like any catastrophic event, I think we ...