Fire danger low for Memorial Day weekend

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A recent cold snap bringing wet weather across the Sierra has quenched concerns about fire danger over the Memorial Day weekend.

Laura Williams, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman, said the agency expects fire danger to stay in the low range through the weekend, putting local fire agencies in "a good position" to begin the fire season with grasses and trees still in their "green-up phase."

Despite the respite this weekend, the Forest Service is preparing for an extreme fire season as the area faces the effects of parched land after three years of drought.

The Martis fire raged across the Sierra last year, starting on June 17 and feeding on thousands of acres of dry fuel. While this year's precipitation was average, it will take the range time to recover, Williams said.

"We have to be prepared for the very worst," she said. "A little bit of moisture puts us back a few weeks before we're in danger. But as you know, Mother Nature will play a trick on you every time."

The Carson Ranger District, which covers the Sierra from Hallelujah Junction north of Reno to Topaz Lake south of Gardnerville, is more prepared this year to deal with fire, Williams said. Last year's national fire plan poured more than $1 million into Nevada for fire prevention, and the Carson district will go from four staffed fire engines five days a week to having seven engines on duty seven days a week. More than 60 firefighters will be working for the district this year.


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