Nevada’s warm weather could bring chance of wildfire | NevadaAppeal.com

Nevada’s warm weather could bring chance of wildfire

by Kurt Hildebrand
khildebrand@recordcourier.com
Cattle graze in green fields as Jobs Peak stands in the Carson Range. Warmer temperatures and dry conditions could increase the chance of fire danger in the Sierra.
Michelle Caruso

After a drizzly May, there’s an increasing chance that warm, windy weather will dry out Western Nevada increasing the chance of wildfire.

Strong winds and low humidity can combine to produce critical fire weather, which may prompt the National Weather Service to issue a red flag warning.

Forecasters describe what a red flag warning means in a video produced by the weather service.

East Fork Fire Deputy Chief Dave Fogerson said that Carson Valley has yet to experience a red flag warning this season.

While a wet May helped increase vegetation moisture, it will also contribute to the growth of grass and weeds that will turn to kindling once temperatures start to increase.

Above average wildland fire potential will arrive in the Sierra Front during June, according to the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook issued earlier this month.

According to Minden weather watcher Stan Kapler, .76 inches of rain fell during May. Kapler said that 4.6 inches has fallen since Oct. 1, 2014, slightly less than half the average 8.89 inches.

Both April and May saw wetter than average weather, and between the two months there was more moisture that January and March combined.

According to the drought report issued earlier this week, the East Fork of the Carson River near Gardnerville was flowing at 290 cubic feet per second, or 22 percent of average. The West Fork is flowing at 62 cubic feet per second or 16 percent of average.

Because there is little storage on the Carson River above Carson Valley irrigation season is expected to end when the snow melts off.

May is Wildfire Awareness Month in the Sierra Front, which includes both the East Fork and Tahoe Douglas fire districts, along with firefighting agencies along the east slope of the Sierra.

According to the National Weather Service, high temperatures are expected to climb into the upper 80s under sunny skies on Saturday, with a trough bringing cooler temperatures and windier conditions on Sunday and Monday.