Propane Problems

With more than 20 feet of snow in some areas of eastern Placer County and Donner Summit, snow loads on residential propane tanks are at an extreme – and pose possible risk of leaks and/or explosion.

In 2011, when similar snow loads were a concern, propane leaks in the Serene Lakes area were widespread, triggering evacuations and the disconnection of power to homes. One leak caused an explosion that completely destroyed a home.

“Snow loads on roofs and decks are a problem throughout the Sierra right now, and everyone should take care to clear those. But the loads on propane tanks are an especially serious concern,” said Placer County Office of Emergency Services Manager John McEldowney. “Residents should dig out and inspect their tanks as soon as they possibly can and call 911 if they smell any gas at all.”

In cooperation with local fire districts, Placer County has issued an emergency alert for the greater North Lake Tahoe area west to Cisco Grove using the Placer Alert system to warn residents of the risk and urge quick action to remove snow from tanks, gas lines and regulators.

Access to all types of propane tanks should be cleared, including underground, sheltered and stand-alone tanks. Residents should contact the Placer County Department of Environmental Health office in Tahoe City at 530-581-6240 before digging into the ground. Residents with questions about safely clearing or de-icing any of their tank components should contact their propane provider.

Placer County encourages all residents to sign up for the Placer Alert emergency alert system to receive the fastest possible notification of dangers near the places they care about – by text, email or phone. Sign up at 

Tying Up Loose Ends


You can feel the change in the air.  The weather is starting to turn and there is a crispness to the days. While autumn is not far off, there are some late summer activities in which you can still partake.  The last of the Summer Movie Series will take place over Labor Day weekend, on September 3rd at 7:30pm at the Homeowner’s Beach (also known as Lot 1).  There will be s’mores and popcorn to go with a fun family movie.  A great summertime treat for the kiddos.  If you have questions, email Sharon Ruffner at

And although winter snows are not too far off, there is still an extreme fire danger situation here in our area.  For 2016, the Serene Lakes Property Owners Association is once again paying the costs of chipping green waste generated by property owners when they clean up their lots with defensible space work.  There is one last chipping date on Monday, September 19th that owners can take advantage of to make sure your lot is in tip top shape.  The chips generated can be blown back onto properties to use as mulch or ground cover.

You must sign up for the chipping program.  It does not happen automatically.  To sign up, go to the Fire Safety page on the SLPOA website and complete the chipping program form.  You must sign up at least one week in advance of the chip date in which you wish to participate.

If you have further questions, you can email, this year’s program coordinator.

And, it probably goes without saying but defensible space is a crucial element to keeping all Summit residents safe.  It improves not only the fire safety and overall look of our community but also our forest’s health.   Stay fire safe!

Snow Biking Gaining Traction at Royal Gorge

It’s a sunny winter day; temps are in the mid 20’s and it is a perfect day to be outside.  You head for freshly groomed trails not with your skis but with your bike!  That’s right, your bike. In recent years snow biking has taken winter by storm.  Now the cyclists, who previously spent the winter months on gym bikes or on indoor trainers, finally have another option for exercise and fun.

While untold thousands of people in the U.S. pedal year-round to work or school, it’s now captured the attention of the thrill seekers as well as the commuters.  New cycling equipment, better apparel and a growing awareness of the feasibility of wintertime riding has caused a jump in participation. Snow biking has become a mainstream offering at many winter resorts across the country for a number of reasons.   First, bikes have come a long way.  Your standard 26” wheeled mountain bike will work just fine on the snow.  Today’s wider tires and the ability to run lower air pressure with tubeless tires so that more tire surface will be in contact with the road/trail makes the snow a great format for fun.

Aside from the bike technology changing, there has also been a change in our trails.  More users are on the trails year-round now, for hiking, trail running and snow shoeing.  Some people might consider this a bad thing but for the snow biker it’s great.  More use of the trails creates more compaction. When you combine this compaction with a bit of sun and some nice temps (in the 20’s) you get conditions that create great snow biking.

Royal Gorge is one of the few resorts in the Tahoe Basin currently offering snow bike rentals.  They have a complete fleet of fat tire bikes and groomed winter trails to make your next ride your best one! Check out their website page here.

Donner Summit – King Fire update


Donner Summit Friends, you will start to see Fire Fighting equipment come through the area, heading down Soda Springs Road toward French Meadows and the King Fire. Pease do not be alarmed–the fire is not an immediate threat to the Summit or to the Cedars, the Incident Command Team and CalFire will be using the equipment many miles down the road to create “indirect” fire breaks–meaning they are creating defensible space fire lines well in advance of the actual fire.
– from Placer Co Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery’s FB page

Sewer Treatment Plant Update for Serene Lakes


Property Owners in the Serene Lake subdivision may be wondering what is going on with the sewer treatment expansion and how it will affect them. Here’s our unofficial understanding of the current status.

On January 14, 2012, ballots were counted and the formation of an assessment district for the sewer treatment plant upgrade/expansion passed in an 85% “yes” to 15% “no” vote.

The formation of an assessment district is for $9 Million in funding through the USDA to which the Sierra Lakes County Water District applied for their portion of the sewer expansion. When funding is approved, an assessment will be passed down to each property owner in Serene Lakes.  Owners of developed lots will be assessed $8,942.61 (in the worst case scenario) and owerns of undeveloped lots will be assessed $9,564.64.  Right now, the SLCWD is in a “holding pattern” as the USDA has not yet granted the funding.

However, once funding is granted, a letter will go out to all property owners that gives them 30 days in which to decide whether they want to pay the assessment in total or amortized it over a 30-year period with payment being assessed on tax bills.  Due to the fact funding has not yet been granted, it’s unlikely that the assessment would be on the next tax bill.

If you have other questions or need futher clarification, please call Anna at Sierra Lakes County Water District – 530/426-7800. She is a wealth of information and has always been very happy to provide whatever information she can and if you have questions she can’t answer immediately, she’ll find the answers.

For some basic information on the sewer treatment plant expansion, visit the Sierra Lakes County Water District website .

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