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 www.placer-alert.org 

Tying Up Loose Ends

MulchLayersInBBGarden_800

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 sharonruffner@yahoo.com

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 lmcashion@yahoo.com, 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!

Donner Summit – King Fire update

9/20/14-

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

“Hell on the Highway” – Driving Interstate 80 in Winter

>Nearly everyone in Northern California or Western Nevada has travelled Interstate 80 over Donner Summit at some point in their lives.  If you’ve driven that route in winter conditions, you know how truly dangerous it can be.

National Geographic has created a 10-part series — “Hell on the Highway” — showing the hazardous winter of 2010 – 2011 on Donner Summit from the viewpoint of four local towing companies. This hair-raising reality show runs Wednesdays at 10:00 pm on the National Geographic network.  For a glimpse of previous episodes, visit the National Geographic website.  It’s a good reminder of how dangerous winter driving can be in the Sierras.

If you must drive in wintery and snowy conditions, AAA offers the following tips on their website for driving in the snow:

  • Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Applying the gas slowly to accelerate is the best method for regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t try to get moving in a hurry. And take time to slow down for a stoplight. Remember: It takes longer to slow down on icy roads.
  • Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on snow-covered roads. Accelerating, stopping, turning – nothing happens as quickly as on dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving slowly.
  • The normal dry pavement following distance of three to four seconds should be increased to eight to ten seconds. This increased margin of safety will provide the longer distance needed if you have to stop.
  • Know your brakes. Whether you have antilock brakes or not, the best way to stop is threshold breaking. Keep the heel of your foot on the floor and use the ball of your foot to apply firm, steady pressure on the brake pedal.
  • Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big difference in the amount of inertia it takes to start moving from a full stop versus how much it takes to get moving while still rolling. If you can slow down enough to keep rolling until a traffic light changes, do it.
  • Don’t power up hills. Applying extra gas on snow-covered roads just starts your wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia going before you reach the hill and let that inertia carry you to the top. As you reach the crest of the hill, reduce your speed and proceed down hill as slowly as possible.
  • Don’t stop going up a hill. There’s nothing worse than trying to get moving up a hill on an icy road. Get some inertia going on a flat roadway before you take on the hill.
  • Stay home. If you really don’t have to go out, don’t. Even if you can drive well in the snow, not everyone else can. Don’t tempt fate: If you don’t have somewhere you have to be, watch the snow from indoors.

Weather and Road Conditions

Weather

Local Weather, Road Conditions & Webcams

Weather.com

Donner Summit

Lake Tahoe

Truckee

National Weather Service

Greater Lake Tahoe Weather

Greater Lake Tahoe Radar

Road Conditions

California Highway Conditions

Nevada Highway Conditions