Be aware of weed burning
April 14, 2015
The seasonal change to spring happened almost one month ago, but the local fire departments have been busy responding to controlled burns that have jumped boundaries.
Judging by yesterday's gusty winds, cooler temperatures and snow flurries, residents would be deceived by the change of weather, but in less than a week, we will return to warmer temperatures, and our farmers and ranchers will be chomping away to burn weeds and other vegetation.
Just last month, the Fallon/Churchill Volunteer Fire Department responded to a controlled burn that moved quickly along the bottom and sides of several ditches. While many county residents are aware of the elements, such as windy weather, others decide to take a chance and are burned — literally speaking — when the fire department must contain the flames.
The Fallon/Churchill Fire and Federal Fire departments respond to numerous controlled burns that have escaped their perimeters and then threaten buildings or other people's property.
Incidents involving these types of fire usually tie up firefighters and take away valuable resources in case a major fire were to occur. Unnecessary calls like this are also a drain on the county's budget.
Residents who burn weeds or other types of vegetation should know of the unpredictable weather conditions in Northern Nevada during any time of year. Normally, most of the reports of uncontrolled burns occur before growing season or near the end of summer when residents prepare the land for the next year.
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We have seen controlled burns move quickly, racing across dry vegetation and then destroying a fence line or outer buildings like a shop or garage.
Sometimes, we have seen fire damage or destroy a house.
Many fire departments recommend residents keep a buffer of at least 30 feet between vegetation and their house and outer buildings; also, when land owners decide to burn vegetation, they must have an ample source of water nearby and be cognizant of the weather conditions. In the Lahontan Valley, fire officials said the best time to burn is usually in the early mornings, not later in the day when the afternoon breezes kick up.
Additionally, if the fire grows uncontrollably larger or the winds begin to increase, the resident should call 911 immediately and not assume someone else will call the fire department.
When in doubt about conditions, though, we strongly suggest people who want to burn call the fire department and ask the fire marshal about the proper precautions to take.
By doing so, we avoid Churchill County from becoming an inferno.
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.