Wildfire Awareness Week starts May 4

Residents urged to be proactive

5/3/2013 - By: Sonya Sistare
Waterfall Fire Flames encroach upon homes during the 2004 Waterfall Fire in Carson City. Photo courtesy of Candice Towell and the Reno Gazette-Journal.

"Reduce the Fuel - Reduce the Risk!" is the message for the 2013 Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week, which kicks off May 4. Ed Smith, director of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension's Living With Fire Program, said this year's message is a call to action.

"Reducing the fuel around homes and other structures is critical to survival during a wildfire," Smith, a natural resource specialist, said. "Residents must be proactive, monitoring and removing appropriate fuels year-round."

Smith said there are three factors that control wildfire behavior:

  • Weather, including relative humidity, wind and air temperature;
  • Topography, including steepness of slope, aspect and slope position;
  • Fuel, including amount, continuity, height and moisture content.

Together, these three factors determine the ease in which a wildfire will start, direction it will go, how fast it will travel, length of its flames and how difficult it will be to suppress.

"Of these three factors, only the fuel can be altered in order to reduce the wildfire risk," Smith said. "That's why we continue to focus our efforts on helping homeowners to know how to manage the vegetation and fuels around their homes."

Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week is a collaborative effort of local, state and federal firefighting agencies, Extension and many others. Proclamations and resolutions supporting the effort have been issued by Gov. Brian Sandoval, the Nevada League of Cities, the Nevada Association of Counties, county commissioners and other groups. Events and activities are being held across the state. To see what is happening in various communities, visit www.LivingWithFire.info and click on the Wildfire Awareness Week tab, or contact Sonya Sistare at sistares@unce.unr.edu or 775-336-0271.


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