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Letters to the Editor: Lake Tahoe’s clarity began fading long before the Caldor fire

Boats float on Lake Tahoe on Aug. 31.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

To the editor: We’re told that the “crystal blue” clarity of Lake Tahoe’s water is now threatened by the Caldor fire. That horse left the barn long ago.

As a child in the late 1940s, I witnessed from Echo Summit a breathtaking, vertiginous spectacle of Tahoe colors that melded into the blue sky with differing shades of blue along with a shimmering, floating mass of turquoise. This was before the draining of wetlands and the glut of residences and casinos.

Lake Tahoe’s depth of clarity is a third of what it was 60 years ago. I heard a newscaster reporting on the fire say Tahoe is a “popular place.” That says it all.

Spencer Le Gate, Sacramento

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To the editor: Thank you for your excellent editorial on the devastation that Lake Tahoe will likely suffer because of climate change. Truly, the Caldor fire and Dixie fire should be a wake-up call to the future we face if nothing is done to remedy climate change.

You mention how the “ecosystem once relied upon low-intensity fires to clear excess vegetation,” and “many areas have gone decades without fire [and] when they finally do burn, it becomes a conflagration.”

It is critical that we manage our forests better if we want to preserve them for the future. We have mismanaged them not only by putting out natural low-intensity burns, but also by allowing clear-cutting of huge swaths of land and replacing the multispecies areas with plantation forests.

Clear-cutting devastates the environment, and plantation forests burn quicker and hotter. We need better forest management, starting with a ban on clear-cutting.

Catherine Moody, Carpinteria


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