The Big Bear Lake Fire Department, in their efforts to expand defensible space efforts, has sought new uses for pine needles. The department’s Fire Fuels Program Coordinator David Yegge coordinated the effort to send 25 pounds of pine needles to Jarden Home Brands, the company that produces such products as the Pine Mountain firelogs, to see if their research and development team in Texas could utilize the pine needles for fireplace logs—and, in fact, the Jarden company paid to have the 25 pounds of Big Bear pine needles shipped. As Yegge tells KBHR, “The pine needles burned very well and gave off a nice scent while burning, which was another plus. So, now the question is where do we go from here? The potential is there, that there is a use for pine needles rather than sending them to a transfer station or landfill.” Yegge adds that the fireplace log folks hadn’t yet sampled pine needles for this purpose, but now know that there is potential for their use. Though Yegge does note that throwing a bunch of pine needles on the fire is not recommended. In his words, “It’s okay to use pine needles as a starter, but not a lot of pine needles, because they may have a pitch residue.” For more information on defensible space efforts, including instructional videos, you can visit the Big Bear Lake Fire Department’s website at ThinIsIn.org.