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Sprinklers Left On At Lake Tahoe Homes Hampering Firefighting Efforts

LAKE TAHOE (CBS13) - There's been a big strain on the local water supply in Lake Tahoe because of sprinklers left running as a defense against the Caldor Fire, says a group.

As the Caldor Fire rages close to homes in the South Lake Tahoe area, some residents left their sprinklers on and pointed at their homes and other structures in an attempt to keep them from burning.  But this strategy not only doesn't work, it works against firefighters by reducing the water pressure and water supply, according to the Tahoe Fire & Fuels Team.  The group says that through continuous watering, neighborhood water tanks are being depleted and that pumps are working at maximum capacity in areas that should be empty.

North Tahoe Fire Chief Steve Leighton says removing combustible materials from around homes is a better way to prepare for wildfires.

"We ask that you turn off any outdoor irrigation, roof sprinklers, or hoses before you evacuate to ensure our firefighters have ample water and enough water pressure to safely fight the fire. Clear roofs of pine needles and leaf litter, remove combustible decorations, furniture, and cushions from decks, and clear away any other combustible material to help prevent homes from catching fire," said Leighton.

Having things that can burn on or near your home -- also called ember vulnerabilities -- causes 90 percent of homes to burn in a wildfire, but fires being started by flames coming up to homes only accounts for 10 percent of fires.

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