Wildfire Awareness Week event includes Smokey hot air balloon

By From page B3 | May 20, 2013

Smokey balloon

THE SMOKEY BEAR hot air balloon will be available for rides, weather permitting, at the Wildfire Awareness Week event in Tahoe. Courtesy photo

STATELINE, NEV. — Lake Tahoe fire protection agencies all agree: defensible space isn’t a bunch of hot air. To back up the importance of defensible space, they’re organizing a free Wildfire Awareness Week kickoff event that includes free tethered Smokey Bear hot air balloon rides (weather permitting), firefighter photo opportunities, a pancake breakfast and more on Saturday, May 25 from 8 a.m.–12 p.m. outside MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa in South Lake Tahoe.

Galvanizing around raising awareness of reducing fuels to reduce the risk of wildfire, local fire protection agencies including the USDA Forest Service, regional fire districts, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Nevada Division of Forestry are hosting the free kick-off event to mark the start of Lake Tahoe’s 2013 Wildfire Awareness Week, May 26 to June 2. With the danger of wildfire season peaking in the summer months, Wildfire Awareness Week is an ideal time for homeowners to create defensible space in the various zones around their property.

“Fire Chiefs around Lake Tahoe are concerned about an extraordinarily dry summer and the high risk of wildfire this year,” said Eric Guevin, Fire Marshal of the Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District. “There are easy steps homeowners can take to reduce the fuels and reduce the risk of wildfire invading their property while increasing the safety of their family, and we have an exciting event planned to help them learn how.”

The kickoff event will feature free family activities including tethered hot air balloon rides (weather permitting), photos with Smokey Bear, a pancake breakfast, information booths and defensible space demonstrations geared to provide Lake Tahoe homeowners with tips and money-saving tricks to create defensible space around their property.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for families to come and have a great time while learning how to protect their homes, and the fragile environment of the Lake Tahoe Basin, from the threat of a catastrophic wildfire,” said Kristi Boosman, Partnership and Communications Officer at the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.

The Wildfire Awareness Week campaign is made possible by a grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry and USDA Forest Service, along with the partnership of Lake Tahoe’s Fire Protection Districts: Tahoe Douglas FPD, North Lake Tahoe FPD, North Tahoe FPD, Meeks Bay FPD, Fallen Leaf FPD, Lake Valley FPD and South Lake Tahoe FD.

For more information, call 530-542-2571 or visit

Teresa Mizuhara

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