The Bureau of Land Management is urging the public to be extremely careful when visiting public lands this season.
"As you head outdoors in the coming weeks, please make fire safety your first priority," said BLM Nevada State Director Bob Abbey. "We want you to enjoy yourselves outdoors this summer, but please help us to protect your public lands and yourselves."
The wet months of April and May created favorable conditions for cheatgrass and other fine fuels, which cured just in time for the July 4 weekend.
The current extreme fire conditions combined with hotter-than-normal temperatures and extremely low relative humidity expected across the state during the next several weeks.
The two wet months had a favorable effect on the cheatgrass supply but little effect on the three-year drought in Nevada. Most of the state remains in severe to extreme drought.
According to Abbey, anything that can cause a spark can ignite a wildfire, including a vehicle's catalytic converter, discharging of firearms, a tossed cigarette or welding.
"Please be sure to thoroughly extinguish all campfires, making sure the ashes are cool to the touch; and make sure the spark arresters on your off-highway vehicles are working," Abbey said.
A national fire prevention team has been working with state and federal agencies and local residents to help prevent fires from scorching the landscapes, as they did in August 1999, when similar fuel conditions were prevalent in Northern Nevada.
"It's essential that a common-sense approach be used while enjoying our wildland areas," said Steve Robinson, Nevada state forester.
"Activities such as target shooting should be done at approved shooting ranges to avoid accidentally starting a wildland fire that can threaten a community. Taking a few minutes to think about what you are doing can save our natural resources and prevent millions of dollars from being spent on fire suppression."
"Firefighter and human safety are our first concern," Abbey said. "The extreme danger existing in Nevada through this weekend cannot be underestimated."
Use of fireworks is illegal in many Nevada communities.