Nevada board adds $1 million to wildfire budget |

Nevada board adds $1 million to wildfire budget

The Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest near in California began on Aug. 17, 2013 and is under investigation. The fire has consumed approximately 235,841 acres and is 70% contained. U.S. Forest Service photo.
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After being warned Nevada could face another major fire season, the Board of Examiners on Tuesday voted to add just more than $1 million to the Division of Forestry budget.

State Forester Kacey KC told the board headed by Gov. Brian Sandoval there were 10 fires that burned 540 acres in just the first two months of this calendar year in part because of the dry weather.

“This is an earlier start to the fire season than last year, primarily because of the lack of winter moisture coupled with the existing high fuel loads from 2017,” she said.

Then the state had a “Miracle March” that raised the snowpack to near normal.

“Unfortunately that just creates more grass,” she said.

In short, she said, that means this fire season could be just as bad as the summer of 2017. There were 753 fires in the 2017 season.

She told the board the Contingency Fund request for $1,006,213 will “partially cover actual expenses and projected emergency response costs for fire, flood and other natural resource emergencies for fiscal year 2018.”

But she advised she will be back in June asking for more cash. Forestry started this cycle with a $5 million appropriation to fight fires.

She said in part, the money is to pay for fire suppression costs that occurred during the last fire season, including the Washoe Valley Little Valley fire. Offsetting those costs, she said, are the reimbursements Nevada is due primarily for assisting California in battling its major fires.

In addition, the board approved a $65 million contract with Protech Solutions to replace the existing child support enforcement system. That system, originally dubbed NOMADS, is now 30 years old and built on a computer platform that wasn’t state-of-the-art when it was new. Welfare and Supportive Services Administrator Steve Fisher told the board the system has to monitor child support payments on behalf of more than 100,000 children. The new system, he said, will increase collections. Roughly a third of the cost of the system is state money. Two thirds is federal funding.

In addition, the board approved a $2.2 million contract with SLU Global Solutions to monitor progress in developing and installing the new system. Both contracts are for a five-year period.