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Wildfire Threat Hangs Over Lake Tahoe Summit

Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Lake Tahoe

Katie Orr / Capital Public Radio

Though there was no smoke in the sky, the threat of wildfires still hung over the annual Lake Tahoe Summit. Every year, politicians from California and Nevada meet to talk about the condition of Lake Tahoe. And though the clarity of the lake has continued to improve, it’s now clear down to 77 feet, Senator Dianne Feinstein says that could all be undone with one explosive fire.

"There is no question in my mind that hazardous fuels mitigation is number one," she says. "We’ve got to thin out our forests so that the fires, when they come through, don’t take out the canopies of the trees as well."

Feinstein is backing a Senate bill that would provide $150 million for fire prevention efforts around Lake Tahoe.

California Governor Jerry Brown says both short and long-term action is needed to reduce the fire risk.

"We need some preventative burning, you have to have adequate fire personnel, you need equipment, you need a lot of money," he says. "And longer term, you need to de-carbonize the economy so you don’t keep the temperatures rising constantly so that you get these increasingly massive forest fires."

Leaders also talked about the need to lessen traffic congestion and improve bike and walking trails around the lake.