Carson fire department preparing for fire season |

Carson fire department preparing for fire season

by F.T. Norton
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal

The Carson City Fire Department has a lofty goal as the fire season approaches, but they need property owners to get on board. The outcome will benefit everyone, said Fire Chief Stacey Giomi.

“Our goal is to get every parcel in the Wildland Urban Interface assessed for compliance with good wildland fire safety practices,” he said.

A team of three will go out to the 2,200 parcels in the neighborhoods on the perimeter of the city and assess the fire safety of the home’s exterior. They will then give homeowners recommendations on what needs to be done to keep their home safe during Nevada’s fire season.

Some of the suggestions, such as clearing brush from 30 feet around the home or replacing wooden shingles with fire resistant ones, can cost money. But other suggestions, such as storing firewood away from the house, or keeping gutters clear of leaves, are cost free and just as vital, said Tim Rochelle, wildland fuels management officer for the Carson City Fire Department.

Maria and Sal Palman have lived on Conestoga Drive in northeast Carson City for about nine years. The Waterfall fire of 2004, which consumed 17 homes in the capital city, was enough of a warning to get them motivated to clean up their one-acre property, said Sal.

For the first few years, the couple cut down and hauled off the yard debris on their own, said Maria. The past two years they’ve taken advantage of the free Dumpsters provided by the fire department.

Rochelle said the empty containers are delivered and full ones picked up at no cost to the homeowner. And the service can be used however many times needed in the creation of defensible space.

“Having the bins available has been wonderful,” said Maria as she and her husband worked to fill a bin Thursday afternoon.

To prepare property owners for a visit, the Fire Department has sent out letters explaining the federal and state grant-funded Wildfire Threat Reduction Evaluations. By the end of the month, the team of three will begin knocking on doors asking homeowners to accompany them on property evaluations.

While a similar program has taken place in Carson City before, this year’s grant pays for three assessors, thus they hatched a goal of reaching every parcel in danger of being consumed by wildfire, said Giomi.

“We live in a wildland fire environment here and the more educated folks can be about how they can protect their home and save themselves, the better opportunity we have to help them in that effort,” said Giomi.