South Lake Tahoe, Califronia, USA — The U.S. Forest Service is selling permits to cut Christmas trees in the Lake Tahoe basin, a seasonal tradition officials say could help prevent devastating wildfires.
The program allows people to remove so-called “ladder fuels,” or smaller trees and shrubs that blanket the forest floor. When dense, that vegetation can propel wildfires to the tops of mature trees.
That kind of intensity was seen during last June’s Angora fire, which burned 3,100 acres and destroyed 254 homes in South Lake Tahoe.
The $10 tree-cutting permits are available for up to 3,000 smaller pine, fir and cedar trees.
White fir, which have traditionally proven among the most popular for ornament-hanging, are overgrown and among the most susceptible to fire.