Tinder-dry vegetation, exceptional drought conditions, increasing daytime temperatures and several human-caused fires have prompted the Bureau of Land Management’s Carson City District Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Nevada Division of Forestry to announce the implementation of fire restrictions effective at 12:01 a.m. Monday on all lands under their jurisdiction in Western Nevada.
The restrictions will last until further notice. The Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest are currently in fire restrictions until further notice.
According to the agencies, vegetation in Western Nevada and Eastern California is significantly dryer for this time of year. Below-average moisture this past winter and spring and warmer-than-average temperatures has led to the increased rate of drying vegetation. A large crop of grass and brush is evident at lower elevations, and trees and other forest vegetation at higher elevations are quickly drying out.
The restrictions prohibit building, maintaining, attending or using a fire (using wood, charcoal or any other material), campfire, or stove fire, except a portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area (except by permit); smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area; operating vehicles or other motorized equipment off of existing paved, gravel or dirt roads; welding or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit; using or causing to be used any explosive, except by permit; possession or use of fireworks or any other incendiary device; use of tracer rounds, steel-core ammunition or exploding targets including Binary Explosive Targets while recreational shooting.
Also, the Nevada Division of Forestry prohibits operating vehicles or equipment traveling on or using wildland areas without at least an axe, shovel and one gallon of water. The other agencies require that all motor vehicles must be equipped with an operational spark arrester pursuant to 43 CFR 8343.1(c). All agencies recommend individuals carry cell phones while in the wildlands or national forests to report wildfires.
Affected areas include: BLM — all areas, roads and trails on the BLM-Carson City District outside of developed recreation sites, with the exception of Sand Mountain Recreation Area and the portion of the Walker Lake Recreation Area within 100 yards of Walker Lake, or between Walker Lake and U.S. Highway 95 where campfires are permitted.
Nevada Division of Forestry — all areas, roads and trails on state lands including the state parks of Lake Tahoe Nevada, Washoe Lake, Berlin-Ichthyosaur, Rye Patch State Recreation Area, the Carson River Ranches portion of Ft. Churchill, and Dayton in Western Nevada.
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service — all areas, roads and trails within the boundaries of the Stillwater, Anaho Island and Fallon National Wildlife Refuges. Campfires are prohibited on these refuge lands year-round.
Bureau of Indian Affairs — approximately 300 allotments encompassing 59,310 acres in Douglas County within the Carson watershed the U.S. government holds in trust for hundreds of individual Indian landowners, collectively known as the Pine Nut Allotments.
Charcoal grills cannot be used during fire restrictions. Propane or white gas stoves are acceptable for use during fire restrictions.
Citations will be issued to those who do not comply with the posted restrictions. Violation of these prohibitions is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both, as Class B misdemeanors under federal law, though agency statutes vary. Those who ignore restrictions may also be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.
For more information, call BLM-Carson City District Office at 775-885-6000, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at 775-423-5128, the Bureau of Indian Affairs at 775-887-3500, or the Nevada Division of Forestry at 775-684-2500. To report a fire, call Sierra Front Interagency Fire Dispatch Center in Minden at 775-883-5995, or call 911.