Tahoe’s 2022 wildfire outlook

Fighting the 2021 Caldor Fire. | Cal Fire

Courtesy Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team

What began as a promising winter fizzled out in early 2022, leading to the driest January and February recorded across California and Nevada since record keeping began. Closer to home, Tahoe City, which has weather records dating back to 1910, set a record for the driest January through March.

On March 31, the National Weather Service (NWS) drought monitor noted that 40 percent of California and 36 percent of Nevada is suffering from extreme drought, with severe drought conditions evident in the Lake Tahoe Basin.

NWS is predicting drier than normal conditions are likely this spring and warmer than normal conditions are highly likely this summer. Near- to below-normal precipitation is expected for Northern California with above-normal significant, fire potential beginning in May and June across low- and mid-elevations and in July across all elevations.

This means California and Nevada face continued severe to extreme drought that will elevate the risk of wildland fire across both states. Above-normal significant fire activity is forecast across most elevations including the Lake Tahoe Basin during June and July.

There are important steps residents and visitors must take to improve community wildfire preparedness.

Prepare for wildfires
Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team encourages homeowners and residents to take responsibility for preparing families, homes and property for the next wildfire. Everyone living in the Tahoe Basin and the surrounding areas should complete defensible space cleanup around homes and property, develop and review evacuation plans, signup for reverse 911 notifications, contact local fire districts to schedule free defensible space evaluations, learn about free chipping services and talk to neighbors about the importance of wildfire preparedness.

Understand Red Flag days
It is also important to know what a Red Flag Warning is: days with strong winds and low humidity resulting in rapid fire spread and less time to react.

Know local fire restrictions
Visitors can help prevent wildfires by understanding when and where wood and charcoal fires are permitted. National Forest lands around Lake Tahoe are under year-round fire restrictions. This means wood and charcoal fires are only permitted in provided metal fire rings and grills in open, developed campgrounds.

Wood and charcoal fires are never permitted in the following locations: Desolation Wilderness, Meiss Country or any other back-country location; beaches or picnic areas; or anywhere else in the forest. Propane appliances with on/off valves are allowed with a valid California Campfire Permit.

Local fire restrictions vary by district and for state and local parks and campgrounds. Check current restrictions before visiting and plan accordingly. | tahoelivingwithfire.com

Find resources to prepare for wildfires at TheTahoeWeekly.com

Sign up for emergency alerts
Alpine County | alpinecountyca.gov
City of South Lake Tahoe | cityofslt.us
Douglas County | douglascountynv.gov
El Dorado County | ready.edso.org
Nevada County | mynevadacounty.com
Placer County | placer.ca.gov
Town of Truckee Nixle alerts | local.nixle.com (moves to CodeRed June 1)
Washoe County | washoecounty.gov