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Scientists Assess Fire Risk in All Tahoe Communities

TitleScientists Assess Fire Risk in All Tahoe Communities
Author/CreatorCobourn, John; Purdy, Shelly; Segale, Heather M.
Related item(s)Press Release available at
Date Original2004-06-29
Summary/DescriptionLake Tahoe Report Segment #73 - "Fire Risk Assessment (Satellite Mapping)" (Air Date: June 29, 2004). Scott Wheaton from the Davey Resource Group and Bryce Keller from the North Tahoe Fire Protection District discuss the role of satellite mapping and imagery in identifying potential fire risks while doing community fire planning.
SubjectFire risk assessment -- Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
Satellite image maps
LocationLake Tahoe (Calif. and Nev.)
Tahoe, Lake (Calif. and Nev.)
CollectionThe Lake Tahoe Report
Original PublisherLake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition (
Electronic PublisherUniversity of Nevada, Reno - Department of Teaching and Learning Technologies
Ordering and Permissions InformationFor more information, contact the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, or 775-832-4138.
Date Digital2005-03-14
RelationRequires Windows Media Player
Resource TypeMoving Image
Contributing InstitutionUniversity of Nevada, Reno
TranscriptionSegment 73: Fire Risk Assessment (Satellite Mapping) Air Date: June 29 Anchor Intro: Four fire districts on the California side of Lake Tahoe have pooled their resources to do some very high-tech fire risk assessments. Shelly Purdy explains how satellite mapping will help the districts plan for the future in tonight's Lake Tahoe Report. ((Take PKG)) ((Track 1)) These pictures may look a little blurry and they're all marked-up for a reason. They've been taken from miles above the earth by a satellite camera aimed at Lake Tahoe. The photos are being analyzed by Davey Resource Group. Forestry Technician Scott Wheaton uses these initial pictures to fine-tune the satellite's computer. Wheaton checks the accuracy of the photos by verifying what the satellite sees. Once he identifies a blue spot like this on the photo as a metal roof instead of a small pond, he can tell the computer to do it. Adjustments are made, and the satellite pumps-out incredibly detailed and accurate photographic images. ((sot @ 9:44 Scott Wheaton, Davey Resource Group)) "Some of the things that we look at from the photos are roof types, types of vegetation around. The roof types we're looking at metal roofs. You have metal here, asphalt shingle, cedar shake, just different types of roofs that I can identify from the photos." ((track 2)) He can also identify one-way roads like here at Rocky Ridge. He can measure the number of trees per acre, the fuel density, the amount of dead trees, and identify high risk areas. ((sot @ 11:59)) "I'm finding a lot of cedar shake roofs. A lot of wood siding. Not a lot of defensible space. But hopefully with planning and things that we're doing we'll be able to come up with a plan that can fix some of that." ((track 3)) That's the purpose of this entire project…to come up with a community fire plan as required by the newly passed Healthy Forest Restoration Act. Once this plan is complete, the local fire districts will be able to apply for grant money to pay for wildfire prevention projects. ((sot @ 2:31 Division Chief Bryce Keller, North Tahoe Fire Protection District)) "This will give us the tool or the document to say this validates our gut feeling. What we know day in and day out that there's a lot of work that needs to be done to protect the Tahoe Basin from a large catastrophic wildfire." ((track 4)) The plan will identify priority areas and projects that can compliment the work currently being done by the U.S. Forest Service and California State Parks throughout the Tahoe Basin. With the Lake Tahoe Environmental Education Coalition, I'm Shelly Purdy for KOLO NC8. Anchor Tag: Public input is a big component of these Community Fire Plans. A series of public workshops is already underway at the various fire districts around Lake Tahoe. Everyone is encouraged to participate in the creation of their local Community Fire Plan. Visit our website at for more information.

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