Igniting a Friendly Fire

October 10th, 2016

A picture of two fire agency representatives igniting pine needles with drip torches in a forest.
Photograph courtesy of North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District

Have you seen smoke in the distance and a sign on the road that states, “Prescribed Fire Do Not Report”? Typically these areas or roads are blocked off to the public as fire crews deliberately set fires according to carefully developed procedures. This prescribed burning is used to restore forest health and reduce the wildfire threat. In the fall of 2011, I had the opportunity to attend a prescribed burn in Tunnel Creek in the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park.  As an element of my master’s thesis project, I lugged camera equipment to the site and took photos 360 degrees around to create a virtual reality (VR). I wanted to interactively communicate the importance of prescribed fire in the Lake Tahoe Basin.  To properly view the VR, turn on the volume to hear Forester Rich Harvey speak about the prescribed fire. You can click and move your mouse across the stitched photos to view the 360 degree panorama faster, and place your cursor over the blue buttons with the lower case “i” to read more information. Adobe Flash is required on your computer to view the VR.  The Tunnel Creek burns were conducted by the Nevada Division of Forestry in cooperation with the Division of State Parks, Division of State Lands and the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District.  It was a rare opportunity and an exciting day for me to observe the care taken by the fire crew and the natural work that fire accomplishes to keep a forest healthy.

Click HERE to view the Virtual Reality. Be patient, it may take a few moments to open.

Headshot of Jamie
Jamie Roice-Gomes

Jamie Roice-Gomes is the outreach coordinator with University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Living with Fire Program.  She earned her Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation and a Master of Arts in Interactive Environmental Journalism. She was a public relations assistant for Conrad Communications, a public information officer intern at the Nevada Department of Conservation & Natural Resources, and a Biological Science Technician at the USDA-Agriculture Research Service. She also enjoys volleyball, the Great Basin Desert, and spending time with family. Contact Jamie at 775-336-0261 or roicej@unce.unr.edu.

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