The Carson City Fire Department is urging the community to start wildfire season preparations now.
There are a number of steps residents can take to create defensible space in event of a wildfire. Fire Chief Sean Slamon said the department recommends residents take preventative measures now, especially those in wildland urban interface areas.
“It is important to prepare and be vigilant all year around,” Slamon said.
Preparation efforts include clearing 300 feet of dead vegetation from around residences, making sure there isn’t wood or other combustible items stored next to the building, clearing roofs and gutters of any leaves or pine needles.
The department also has a free Dumpster program through its Wildlands Fuels Reduction Project funded by the bureau of Land Management and Nevada Division of Forestry. It’s a program established in 2006 to help homeowners in the interface to create defensible space by providing trailers and Dumpsters free of charge to dispose waste from vegetation cleanup efforts.
In addition, Slamon said it’s important for residents to have a ready “go-bag” packed in case of an evacuation. It should include copies of important documents such as mortgage information, tax information, birth certificates, insurance policies and licenses; and irreplaceable items such as photographs.
“You just need a plan to evacuate if there is an actual fire in the area,” Slamon said. “It is better to evacuate early than too late in a panic.”
He also recommends residents keep bottled water and nonperishable foods in the house year round in case of fires, floods or other natural disasters.
“With these things there is very little notice and it is better to prepare than react,” Slamon said.
Residents aren’t the only ones gearing up for the fire season, the department is working on training to make sure all the firefighters are up to date on their certifications. All of the Carson City firefighters are currently going through the wildfire training, which they do annually to maintain their skills for wildfires both here and for fires outside of Carson.
The department is also working on prevention measures; sheep have been contracted to feed on the vegetation around Carson to keep its defensible space. It’s also working on hiring its seasonal wildland crew, whose primary responsibility is to clear fuels and vegetation in wildfire prone areas in Carson.
“Every wildfire season is unpredictable,” Slamon said. “When we have wet vegetation and grasses, they grow high and dry and become a fire hazard. But when it’s a dry season, the trees and larger vegetation dry out and are susceptible as well so there is no good fire set up.
“We had a miracle March so we have a lot of late growth with small fuels and weeds that will probably dry up this summer.”
For more resources, residents can visit livingwithfire.org or sign up for Code Red alerts at carson.org. For more information on the dumpster program, call the Carson City Fire Department main line at 775-887-2210.