With ground cover as dry as kindling and more fires caused by lightening strikes than the Tahoe National Forest has seen in almost a decade, officials are urging campers and day visitors to be hyper vigilant with fire this Labor Day weekend.

“One match, or one abandoned campfire could cause a major wildfire resulting in the destruction of thousands of acres, hundreds of homes, and lives at risk,” said Ann Westling, US Forest Service spokeswoman.

Consider the Martis Fire, which started on Father’s Day in 2001 and burned much of the Truckee River Canyon and on into the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, scorching a total of 14,500 acres.  And all of that was started with one abandoned campfire, Westling said.


Campers can also expect to see some changes to their favorite campgrounds as bear-resistant food lockers are being installed in many of the sites. 

“These have been very successful, virtually eliminating bear problems. But we need everyone’s help to ensure that food is placed in the lockers rather than leaving it in a vehicle, their tent, or on the table,” said Tom Quinn, a forest supervisor.

All major recreation areas will be open this weekend and are expected to be busy. Day use areas will be available on a first-come basis, but reservations are required for overnight camping with a deadline of today or Tuesday. Most can be reserved at recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777.


  • Jackie Ginley

    Jackie Ginley is a former journalist and Moonshine editor who shelved the pen in 2013 to pursue a career in real estate. With deep roots in Tahoe, she enjoys hiking, skiing, and après-everything with friends. Jackie lives in Truckee, and is currently building a home in Tahoe Donner.

Previous articleSarah Obexer-Fields: West Shore Successor
Next articleQuick Bites: There’s an App for That