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Field Training: Fuels Treatments in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI): Lessons Learned from the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team

Friday, October 13th, 2023, 10:00am-5:00pm

This was an opportunity for the community of South Lake Tahoe to join the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team and Cal Poly’s Fuels and Vegetation Education Program for a field-based training that spans multiple fires in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Participants learned how representatives of Tahoe Basin fire agencies worked together to form the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team with the goal of protecting lives, property, and the environment within the Lake Tahoe Basin from wildfire by implementing prioritized fuels reduction projects and engaging the public in becoming a Fire Adapted Community.  

In this field training, we visited several sites within the South Lake Tahoe community to better understand how the Gondola and Angora fires played a critical role in the outcome of the Caldor Fire. Participants learned about how local fuels reduction projects helped to slow the spread of fire and decreased fire severity, protected resources, and ultimately saved lives, homes, and communities. The goal of this training was to provide an opportunity for participants to learn more about what  local agencies are doing  to prepare for and prevent wildfires in the Lake Tahoe Basin. This training was an opportunity for agencies to engage in skills-based advocacy building exercise with local community leaders in an effort to create consistent messaging within the community and grow the local network of Fire Adapted Communities. 

Lake Tahoe Basin Field Training Flier 

Time Item


Workshop begins

Angora Ridge Lookout


Chief Chad Stephen: Welcome

  Chief Jim Drennan: Relationships & Collaborations
  Martin Goldberg: Fire History
  Mike Vollmer: Fire History Continued
  Old Meyers Grade


Brian Newman: Christmas Valley and Caldor Fire Overview

  Martin Goldberg: Community Teachings and Collaborations
  Chief Jim Drennan: Stateline to Summitt
1:00pm Working lunch at California Conservation Core Convention Center


Pawnee Circle Neighborhood

  Brian Newman: Living in a Fire Prone Community
  Vic Lyon: Community Action Now vs. in the Past
  Nadia Tase: Fuel Reduction Treatment Types in the WUI 
  Martin Goldberg: Treating State vs. Private Lots
  Mike Vollmer: Open Space Management
  Fountain Place
  Vic Lyon: Timeline for Fuels Reduction Projects: Planning and Implementation
  Nadia Tase: Treatment Impacts, Challenges, and Barriers
  Brian Newman: Fuel Reduction in National Forest Land
  Lower Corral Trailhead

Vic Lyon: Fire Severity Effects in Untreated Forest

  Nadia Tase: Climate Change and Wildfire in the Sierras
  Mike Vollmer: Fire Adapted Landscapes and Communities: Role of Good Fire
  Martin Goldberg: Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)
  Brian Newman: Ready, Set, Go Messaging
  Kelly Meyer: Skills-Based Advocacy Building Exercise
5:00pm Field Training Ends


Brian Newman, Assistant Chief, CAL FIRE Amador-El Dorado Unit, East Division Operations, Lake Tahoe Ca.

Brian has worked for CAL FIRE for 29 fire seasons in the Amador – El Dorado Unit. He has been assigned to various programs including Schedule A and Schedule B fire suppression, Emergency Command Centers, and the unit Vegetation Management Program / Fuels reduction program. He Graduated from Cogswell Polytechnical College with a B.S. in Fire Management and Technology. Brian’s current position is the Assistant Chief of the East Division of AEU, which includes Lake Tahoe and Alpine County and a Fire Crew fire center. Brian is a member of CAL FIRE Incident Management Team 3 as the Fire Behavior Analyst and instructs on numerous cadres including Prescribed Fire Incident Commander, and the Fire Behavior series. 

Nadia Tase, Climate Change & Forest Inventory SpecialistFire and Resource Assessment Program, CAL FIRE

Nadia Tase is a Senior Environmental Scientist working for the Fire and Resource Assessment Program in CAL FIRE. She focuses on issues surrounding forest and harvested wood product carbon sequestration. Prior to working for CAL FIRE, Nadia worked for the U.S. Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit as a Forester preparing and implementing fuel reduction projects in the Tahoe Basin. 

Victor Lyon, Vegetation Management Staff Officer, USDA Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

Victor Lyon is currently the Vegetation Management Staff Officer at the USDA, Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit. He graduated from UC Davis with a degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology, specializing in conservation biology, worked for three years with the Fish and Wildlife Service, and then joined the Forest Service in 2000 here in Lake Tahoe. Victor worked as a wildlife biologist for thirteen more years with the Forest Service, then as a District Ranger for five years, and in his current position since 2018. He grateful for the privilege and opportunity to continue managing forest health and fuel reduction projects with a holistic land stewardship approach on forest system lands and across ownerships with excellent partners in the Lake Tahoe area. Victor enjoys hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, rafting, snowboarding on our public lands. 

Martin Goldberg, Fire Captain, Lake Valley Fire Protection District

Fire Captain Martin Goldberg has nearly 25 years in the fire service, having worked previously for San Luis Obispo County Fire / CALFIRE and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) before starting his career  with the Lake Valley Fire Protection District (LVFPD) in 2001. Captain Goldberg is currently assigned to the LVFPD  Prevention Division. Captain Goldberg holds a degree in Soil Science with a concentration in Environmental Science from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Captain Goldberg has actively  participated in the Tahoe Fire and Fuels Team (TFFT) since its inception in 2008 and is recognized by the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA) as a qualified forester. Captain Goldberg has fostered defensible space and home hardening on private lands in South Lake Tahoe for close to 15 years.

Mike Vollmer, Executive Director, Tahoe Resource Conservation District 

Mike Vollmer is the Executive Director at the Tahoe Resource Conservation District with a career spanning over three decades in natural resource management. He has worked in the Lake Tahoe region since 2001. Mike's passion lies in preparing communities for wildfires, sustainable resource management, disturbance ecology, and restoration ecology (including prescribed fire). Mike is a Registered Professional Forester (RPF) and Certified Arborist and has held key positions at organizations such as the Institute for Sustainable Forestry, Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, Nevada Fire Safe Council, North Tahoe Fire Protection District, Nevada Division of Forestry, and now at the Tahoe Resource Conservation District. In his role as Executive Director, Mike Vollmer combines his academic knowledge with practical experience, driving positive change in the realm of environmental stewardship.

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