Prepare now: Northern Nevada wildfires know no season | NevadaAppeal.com

Prepare now: Northern Nevada wildfires know no season

Nevada Division of Forestry

In Nevada, we know all too well wildfires can strike at any time of the year. In recognition of National Wildfire Awareness Month in May, the Nevada Division of Forestry is collaborating with partnering agencies to help promote the importance of preventing, planning and preparing for wildfires in Nevada — during the warmer months and throughout the year. This year's theme, "Prepare Now: Wildfire Knows No Season," is designed to further emphasize every season is wildfire season in Nevada.

Last year was Nevada's third worst fire season in recorded history, with 768 wildfires that burned more than 1.3 million acres. Forty-six percent of these fires were due to human-related activities, primarily from target shooting and campfires. However, wildfires can ignite simply from driving a hot vehicle over dry grass, or by dragging loose trailer chains on pavement.

"Understanding the critical threats posed by wildfires in the Silver State, the Nevada Division of Forestry is committed to providing ongoing education surrounding wildland fire safety, community preparedness, hazardous fuels mitigation, and fire prevention — 365 days a year," said Kacey KC, state forester/fire warden of the Nevada Division of Forestry. "Wildfires can spark at any time, but we can all take steps — both big and small — to help protect our environment, homes, and one another."

The Nevada Division of Forestry offers the following tips to help prevent and prepare for wildfires:

Clean out gutters, roofs and other areas where debris has settled.

Avoid burning on windy days and never leave a burn pile unattended.

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Create an evacuation plan and practice the route with family members.

Practice campfire safety by ensuring your fire is dead out before leaving the campsite.

Remove flammable vegetation at least 30 feet around your home.

Take action in your community by organizing a wildfire preparedness event.

Avoid driving your vehicle onto dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires you won't even see until it's too late.

Avoid target shooting into rocks or metal objects and place targets in areas free of vegetation.

Never throw a lighted cigarette out of a vehicle.

When pulling a trailer, attach safety chains securely; loose chains can drag on the pavement and cause sparks, igniting roadside fires.

Look behind you before driving away from fire-sensitive locations such as areas with tall grass or campsites to check for signs of a developing fire.

Observe "Red Flag" fire weather warnings. These warnings are issued when weather conditions are conducive to the easy start and rapid spread of wildfires.

Always keep water, a shovel and a fire extinguisher in your vehicle on the ready in case a fire starts.

Wildfire awareness events, posted at http://www.livingwithfire.info/wildfire-awareness-month, include the following:

Junk the Junipers, Washoe Valley, May 12, 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Bi-state Evacuation Drill & Safety Fair, Tahoe Biltmore, Crystal Bay, May 19, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Celebrate Washoe Valley, Washoe Valley State Park, May 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Douglas County CERT Safety Day, Lampe Park, Gardnerville, May 19, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

To learn more about the Nevada Division of Forestry, visit http://forestry.nv.gov/.