The Ely Times

Three governmental agencies have teamed up to get out and spread the same message while educating people about the upcoming fire season.

The agencies teamed up approximately three years ago to begin coordinating efforts and procedures to educate the community. Last year, they began reaching out to different county’s across Nevada and this year they stopped in to White Pine County.

Chris Hanefield with the BLM, Jennifer Diamond with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Michael S. Beaudoin with the State of Nevada Division of Forestry are working on educating Nevadans about fire prevention.

Beaudoin discussed several different topics of fire prevention in the home,  camping, off-roading and shooting.

“People should keep 100 feet around their home clear from vegetation and cheat grass,” he said. “A lot of the fires we see when it ignites on the home, is usually not direct flame contact, it’s an ember that flies off a firefront one to two miles away. Especially with the wind driven fires.”

It was recommended by the team to have wood piles and any petroleum moved away from the house. Ensure that gutters are cleaned out and free of debris, eliminating the chance of a gutter being a receptacle to fuel a fire if an ember was to float into it.

Next time you are out mowing your lawn, keep in mind that engine can get very hot as well. Beaudoin explained, “Your outside, your mowing the grass, your hot, you’r not thinking clearly, and if you set a weed eater down, it’s hot, and it could start a fire.”

Off-roading was another discussion on ways to prevent fires. Many people, especially here in White Pine enjoy going off-road with quads, ATVs and four-wheel drive vehicles. Spark arrestors are required on public land for all off-roading vehicles.  They help prevent sparks from escaping.

The team wanted to remind everyone that when off-roading, the carburetor will get very hot and it’s best not to park in tall grass.  Along with that, they also recommended securing the chains on all trailers, whether they are for your trailers hauling quads, or your RV.

Diamond noted that she lives in the Reno area, and said that they had 14 fires last year before they began traveling around the state, and by June they didn’t have any fires after that.

“We have seen that sending out this information and educating the public really does help, because people just don’t know unless we talk about it,” Diamond said.

Diamond mentioned in the Reno area, it is particularly target shooting a lot of time that causes fires.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be a spark or hit re-bar or a piece of metal, it’s just that bullet fragments can heat up to 1,400 degrees, and cheat grass can combust at 660 degrees, and you put all those things in the right alignment and it can happen,” she said.

This hasn’t always been through investigations or science that they have found all of this out, sometimes it’s been the shooter, who would send in a video in explaining what happened. “We can’t tell people not to shoot, but if you’re going to do it make sure it’s not hot, dry, or windy, and be prepared have a shovel, water or an extinguisher, or go to a desgnated range,” Diamond said.

White Pine County currently has two different ranges, one that was organized and remodeled by the Steptoe Valley Trap, Skeet & Target Club and the other one is the White Pine County Shooting range that is currently getting quite a few upgrades.

Beaudoin said that in general, the majority of the western states have nine out of 10 fires that are human cause.

Diamon said it can be deceiving with the rain, “What they don’t know is more rain, more grass, more fuel, more fires and so we call them one hour fuels, don’t think it’s just wet and green out there because ti’s probably cured and ready to go.”

Pay attention to the weather, and red flag warnings, and maybe choose to not go out and recreate on those days.”