With Memorial Day weekend upon us and the season for more outings on public lands, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Western Nevada Agency, would like to remind the community to be aware of the increased chance of wildfire due to drying conditions and increased fuels from the wet spring.
“We encourage the public to enjoy their lands and also take appropriate steps to prevent wildfires,” said Shane McDonald, Interagency Fire Management Officer. “In situations such as the anticipated high wind days, firefighting agencies rely heavily upon the public to make sensible decisions in regards to fire prevention on public and private land.”
The following precautions should be taken:
• Check current weather forecasts for the area you will be in
• Never leave a campfire unattended. Extinguish all campfires completely and stir ashes to make sure no hot coals remain and always make sure they are dead out.
• Never use stoves, lanterns or heaters inside a tent.
• Dispose of cigarettes in proper containers away from any flammable material.
• If off-road vehicle use is allowed, internal combustion equipment should have a spark arrester.
• Avoid driving though dry vegetation or parking your vehicle in high grass or dry vegetation.
• Store flammable liquid containers in a safe place.
• Do not shoot tracer bullets, incendiary ammunition or exploding targets or in areas of dry fuel during periods of strong winds, low humidity and warm temperatures. Shots fired across open desert can travel more than a mile and can cause a wildfire.
• Shoot only at cardboard or paper targets or manufactured thrown-type clay targets.
• At the first sign of a wildfire, contact Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center at 775-883-5995 or call 911.
Summer Fire Season Forecast Calls for Caution
While precipitation over the past 6-8 months has allowed the drought to improve across parts of the state, severe to extreme drought conditions still exist in the Sierras and over the western half of Nevada. The additional precipitation has also allowed for 2-3 times as much cheat grass than the past few years providing additional fuel for fires.
In southern Nevada, fire activity could pick up in June and by July and August, all fuels should be cured statewide. Drier lightning, combined with the amount of grass in western and northern Nevada and the drought stressed timber in higher elevations of Nevada and the Sierras may lead to above normal fire activity.
“Don’t let this moisture fool you, with it comes increased grass growth and a higher potential for fires and fire growth. So keep informed and have a safe and fun summer out there on your public lands,” said Paul Petersen, BLM Nevada Fire Management Officer.
Regardless of the type of fire season, the BLM has the people and equipment to deal with it. Statewide there are 51 Engines, 6 dozers, 2 Hot Shot crews, 1 Veteran Crew, 3 Helicopters, 7 Single Engine Air Tankers, 2 large air tanker bases and other miscellaneous heavy equipment.
“In addition to the BLM resources, we also work with our local, state and federal partners to ensure public safety and protect public lands,” Petersen added.