Out of season wildfire triggers safety concerns in Nevada

Published on November 23, 2011
Firewise tips can reduce a home’s risk from wildfire 

FirewiseNovember 23, 2011 – An out-of-season wildfire coupled with high winds that passed through an area southwest of Reno, Nev. in late November has made the reality of living in a high-risk wildfire area all the more real for Nevadans. But while Sierra Fire District officials reported that the Caughlin Fire burned almost 2,000 acres, forced thousands to flee and destroyed 32 homes, many Nevada communities have actively been working on ways to their reduce wildfire risk.

Nevada’s Living with Fire program, in connection with the Nevada Fire Safe Council, helps inform residents about how they can live safer in high-risk wildfire areas, including resources and information aimed at actions they can take before, during and after a wildfire threatens their area. More information about the Living with Fire program can be found at www.livingwithfire.com or by calling +1 775 336-0271.

Just as these Nevada-based programs advise their residents on wildfire safety mitigation, the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA), Firewise Communities Program emphasizes that wildfire doesn’t have to burn everything in its path. In fact, clearing your property of debris and maintaining your home’s landscaping before a wildfire starts are important first steps to reduce your risk for wildfire damage. Here are eight steps you can take to reduce the risk of your home and property becoming fuel for a wildfire:

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves, porches and decks. This helps prevent embers from igniting your home
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
  • Remove fuel within 3-5 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let it touch your house, deck or porch.
  • Clear vegetation surrounding your home, at least 30 to 100 feet, depending on your area’s wildfire risk.
  • Wildfire can spread to tree tops. If you have large trees on your property, prune so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet high.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • When planting, choose slow-growing, carefully placed shrubs and trees so the area can be more easily maintained.
  • Landscape with native and less-flammable plants. Your state forestry agency or county extension office can provide plant information.

Planning to update your home soon? The Firewise information and resources webpage can help you choose which Firewise construction materials are best for decks, porches and fences. Ask your retailer for “Class-A” materials including asphalt shingles and metal, cement and concrete products. Double-paned or tempered glass windows also make a home more resistant to heat and flames. Learn more about how to keep your family safe and reduce your home’s risk for wildfire damage, and find additional landscaping tips and checklists for preparing and maintaining your property at www.firewise.org.

With support of the Living with Fire program, two Nevada neighborhoods have already taken steps to have their communities become recognized Firewise Communities and have lowered their risk of wildfire damage. Crescent Valley/Beowawe and Eureka/Diamond Valley, both in Eureka, are part of the Firewise Communities/USA® Recognition Program, and have undertaken wildfire safety efforts since 2010.

About Firewise
The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters and others in creating fire-adapted communities – places where people and property are safer from the risk of brush, grass and forest fires. Firewise is a program of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service, the US Department of the Interior and the National Association of State Foresters.

About Living with Fire
The Living With Fire program was developed to inform Nevadans about how they can live safer in high fire hazard environments, with a distinct purpose to teach people how to safely coexist with wildfire when it does occur. Living With Fire is a collaborative effort involving the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Association of Counties, Nevada Fire Safe Council, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nevada Insurance Council, Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, USDA Forest Service and the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

About NFPA
NFPA is a worldwide leader in fire, electrical, building, and life safety. The mission of the international nonprofit organization founded in 1896 is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.

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Media Contact: Lorraine Carli, +1 617 984-7275
Program Contact: Michele Steinberg, +1 617 984-7487