Nevada State Forester issues statement about extreme fire conditions

161 reported fires have burned 8,412 acres so far in 2007, compared to last year at this time when 76 fires for 2,421 acres were reported

Division of Forestry firefighter during Nevada’s 2006 fire season.

CARSON CITY, Nev.–Nevada’s State Forester and Firewarden, Pete Anderson, issued the following statement today about Nevada’s dangerous fire conditions.

“Nevada is faced with extreme wildfire potential as we rapidly move to summer weather conditions. This situation is primarily a result of a below-average precipitation year–less than 30 percent in some areas of the state.

“Fine fuels are drying and are creating extreme conditions for wildfire ignitions. Annual fine fuel production–grasses and weeds–is high, so we have an explosive situation. Of particular concern are higher elevations that are extremely dry due to a minimal snowpack.

“Federal, state, local and volunteer fire agencies have all ready experienced multiple wildfires. Wildfires have been started by lightning, ATV mufflers, target shooting, heavy equipment operation and burning materials.

“To date 161 fires that burned 8,412 acres have been reported, compared to last year at this time when 76 fires for 2,421 acres were reported. Wildfires in 2006 destroyed 1.3 million acres of native vegetation resulting in soil erosion, a loss of wildlife habitat and increased invasive weeds that will mar the state’s public and private lands for years to come.

“As we enjoy Nevada’s outdoor recreation opportunities this summer I cannot overemphasize the need for all Nevadans to be cautious with fire. The potential is severe this year to have large catastrophic wildfires. Wildfire suppression agencies do a fantastic job, but they cannot do it alone. It is incumbent on everyone to work as a team to avoid wildfire ignitions and the loss of our native vegetation across our state.”

Anderson gave fire safety recommendations for citizens:

  • Contact local fire and emergency services providers for current fire restrictions and regulations
  • Adhere to fire restrictions
  • Ensure homes comply with defensible space requirements
  • While participating in outdoor recreational activities, be aware of the surrounding vegetation and current weather conditions
  • Realize that any outdoor heat generating activity has the potential to ignite a wildfire
  • Carry a shovel, fire extinguisher and at a minimum one gallon of water when in the backcountry
  • Carry a cell phone and notify authorities of suspected fire activity or smoke
  • Make fire prevention a family affair and discuss the issue with children.

The Nevada Division of Forestry is a division within the Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The Division coordinates and manages all forestry, nursery, endangered plant species and watershed resource activities on certain public and private lands. The Division provides protection of life, property and natural resources through fire suppression, prevention programs and provides other emergency services as required.

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