Carson City cleared Independence Day weekend without a major fire, according to Fire Chief Stacey Giomi, but Monday he called for continued sensible behavior to help avoid one during this heat wave.
“Really, the biggest thing concerning us is for people to use common sense,” said the 30-year veteran firefighter, adding it is a particularly risky time due to drought. He said the problem heightens whenever dry western states are showing troublesome tinder box conditions in the third year of such drought. He said it takes no more than a careless person or a lightning strike to spark a wildfire or urban blaze.
“That makes an imprint,” Giomi said, noting that federal and other fire fighting personnel can get pulled elsewhere in the western region when wildfires flare, stretching resources available to fight a blaze if one starts here.
Giomi also voiced worry about after-holiday use of leftover illegal fireworks by individuals.
“Somebody can go off to California and buy a box of sparklers, bring it back and burn down somebody’s house,” he said. He issued a reminder that nowhere in this trade area are fireworks legal for individual usage, adding that the legal fireworks display in Carson City caused a small fire at the July 4 celebration here.
“We were putting it out while they were shooting fireworks off over our heads,” Giomi said. He said such legal displays are done by certified professionals. He noted, however, that one didn’t flare high enough and sparked the blaze.
Fire also can strike anywhere brush is on one- to five-acre plots in residential areas, the fire chief said, prompting him to repeat common sense things people should avoid: carelessness with cigarettes, other smoking materials or matches; casual campfires and backyard evening grilling and fires instead of keeping them in containers, such as fire rings, hibachis or chimineas; driving off road through brush rather than staying on roads.
For example, he said, there were campfires in recent days down along the Carson River and they were ample cause for concern.
Despite no major fires in Carson this past weekend, Giomi said there was one problematic blaze in the vicinity of Silver Sage Drive and Roventini Way on the city’s south side last Friday. It threatened three homes, destroying a boat and three sheds on four properties. Though it didn’t cause major residential damage, he indicated, had it reached the homes it could have accounted for considerable property loss.
Other recent fires in the area included one in Douglas County Saturday on 250 acres and another Sunday in Sparks on more than 80 acres, he said. The Minnehaha Canyon fire, about 5 miles north of Holbrook Junction in Douglas County, was expected to be contained by this morning.
“People who have lived here any length of time know what needs to be done,” Giomi said, but added one inadvertent mistake might prove one too many. He cautioned that any slip from the common sense standard could create a conflagration in such a “fire-ready environment.”