With more than 20 feet of snow in some areas of eastern Placer County in recent weeks, snow loads on residential propane tanks are extreme – and pose a risk of leaks and possible 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 .