The historic wet winter and spring, drying vegetation, increasing daytime temperatures, and several human-caused fires are the reasons local offices of the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Division of Forestry, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service are implementing fire restrictions on lands under their jurisdiction.
Officials said the region is seeing prolific vegetation as compared to previous years due to the extra moisture, and warmer-than-average temperatures have increased the rate of vegetation dry-out.
Lasting until further notice, the restrictions take effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday and prohibit the following:
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 (which is always prohibited), steel-core ammunition, or exploding targets, including binary explosive targets, while recreational shooting.
In addition, the NDF prohibits operating vehicles or equipment traveling on or using wildland areas without at least an axe, shovel and one gallon of water. All agencies recommend that individuals carry cell phones while in the wildlands or national forests to report wildfires.
Affected areas include the following:
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.
NDF — All areas, roads and trails on state lands including the following state parks: 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.
BIA — All lands administered by the BIA located within or adjacent to the BLM NV Carson City District. Approximately 300 allotments encompassing 59,310 acres in Douglas County within the Carson Watershed that the federal government holds in trust for hundreds of individual Indian landowners, collectively known as the Pine Nut Allotments.
USFWS — 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.
Violation is subject to punishment by a fine and/or imprisonment. Violators may be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs, and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.
Fires can be reported to the Sierra Front Interagency Fire Dispatch Center in Minden, 775-883-5995, or call 911. For information about the restrictions, contact the BLM-Carson City District Office at 775-885-6000; NDF at 775-684-2500; BIA at 775-887-3500; or USFWS at 775-423-5128.
Also, in response to an increase in shooting-related fires, the Carson Ranger District is instituting a temporary shooting restriction Friday through Sept. 30, or if conditions change before then.
The district encompasses more than 400,000 acres on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada and California.
Officials said May and June saw nine fires — all of which point to target shooting as the suspected cause — that burned over 500 acres in the district. The amount of shooting-related fires are above the average number for this time of year.
Violating the restriction is punishable by a fine up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail. In addition, anyone found responsible for starting a wildfire will be held civilly and criminally liable.
Gun enthusiasts are welcome to use private or county designated shooting ranges while the restriction is in effect.
To report illegal shooting on the Carson Ranger District, contact the Nevada Division of Wildlife’s 24-hour dispatch center at 775-688-1331 or 775-688-1332, or the ranger district office at 775-882-2766 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays.
Officials say never approach anyone that may be illegally shooting. Instead, get details and descriptions of the incident and turn them over to an enforcement agency. Helpful information includes: license plate number and description of the vehicle involved; number of people involved and their descriptions; date and time of incident; location and directions to the area, if possible GPS coordinates; name and telephone number of person reporting the incident; and cell phone photos if available.
For information, go to www.fs.usda.gov/htnf, or participate in the conversation at https://twitter.com/HumboldtToiyabe and https://www.facebook.com/HumboldtToiyabeNF/.