Fire services and your neighbors at work to reduce wildfire threats
Every year in Carson City, as well as in other communities, different agencies, groups and citizens come together to create defensible or survivable space and reduce the threat of wildfire by modifying fuels. Personnel and equipment from Carson City Fire Department (CCFD), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), U.S. Forest Service (USFS) the Nevada Fire Safe Council (FSC) and private contractors, complete mechanical removal using chainsaws, mastication and mowing equipment and weeding by hand to safely reduce and modify fuels around homes throughout our community. These efforts before a wildfire limit the effects from lightning-caused or accidental fires and may prevent catastrophic fire.
CCFD received grants from the BLM and NDF to fund the free dumpster/trailer program and to conduct wildfire threat reduction evaluations to area homes. This year, CCFD grant-funded staff collected 275 full dumpster and trailer loads filled with 166 tons of fuels residents removed. If you live in the designated wildland urban interface (WUI) area and need a free dumpster or trailer delivered for fuels removal, call 887-2210, extension 2. Carson City Open Space received federal funding to have NDF conservation crews remove 50 to 80 percent of sagebrush on 24 acres of private undeveloped lands. In cooperation with the USFS, Open Space had sheep graze 2,000 acres of cheatgrass, a highly flammable weed.
The BLM not only provides community assistance funds for many of the fuels reduction projects that others do, but also sends crews and contractors out to reduce fuels. This year BLM has treated 83 acres in Pinion Hills and North Carson areas. They will be seeding 72 acres in the Deer Run /Mexican Dam area and 55 acres in the North Carson area to reduce the invasion of cheatgrass. They fund the Living with Fire program through University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, http://www.livingwithfire.info.
NDF is another great community partner. Their fire crews have been working to reduce fuels and improve forest health in Lakeview, Timberline and other fire-prone neighborhoods on the west side of Carson City. Some 30 acres of private land and 200 acres of state lands were treated since last year, including a 10-mile fuel break above Ash Canyon and Lakeview. NDF firefighters have been going door-to-door providing free defensible space evaluations.
The USFS implemented the Clear Creek Fuels Reduction and Ecosystem Enhancement Project on 3,500 acres to reduce wildfire risk to Clear Creek, Kings Canyon, Carson City and Douglas County communities by reducing fuel loading and ladder fuels in forested and shrub areas adjacent to the WUI west of Carson City and Douglas county. Cheatgrass and invasive weeds were reduced on approximately 800 acres and reseeded with desirable species.
The FSC has six volunteer chapters: Clear Creek, Kings Canyon, Lakeview, Mexican Dam, North Carson and Timberline. FSC hires crews with grant funds to work outside a home’s defensible space zone while homeowners match the work inside the defensible space zone. In Carson City since 2004, $311,648 has been spent to remove 1,679 tons of fuels on 500 acres.
The FSC invites people to participate: http://nvfsc.org/ or 884-4445.
These dedicated community volunteers and federal, state and local professionals work year after year to make our communities safer in the face of a wildfire, but it is ultimately the homeowner’s responsibility to reduce fuels and keep their home and neighborhood safe. Thank you for reducing wildland fuels in order to reduce wildfire in our community!
• JoAnne Skelly is the Carson City/Storey County Extension educator for University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and may be reached at email@example.com or 887-2252.