Tinder-dry vegetation, lingering drought conditions, increasing daytime temperatures and several human-caused fires prompted the Bureau of Land Management, the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Nevada Division of Forestry’s implementation of fire restrictions until further notice.
“Vegetation in Western Nevada and eastern California is significantly drier for this time of year,” said BLM spokeswoman Lisa Ross. “Below average moisture this past winter and spring and warmer than average temperatures has led to the increased rate of drying the vegetation. A large crop of grass and brush is evident at lower elevations and trees and other forest vegetation at higher elevations are quickly drying out. The public is encouraged to safely enjoy the public lands, bearing in mind that human-caused fires annually threaten human life, private property and public land resources every summer.”
The potential for devastating fires during the summer is very real. Report fires to the Sierra Front Interagency Fire Dispatch Center, Minden, 883-5995, or dial 911.
Fire restrictions prohibit:
1. Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire (using wood, charcoal or any other material), campfire, or stove fire except a portable stove using gas or pressurized liquid fuel, outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area (except by permit).
2. Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area.
3. Welding, or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.
4. Using or causing to be used, any explosive, except by permit.
5. Possession or use of fireworks (always prohibited), or any other incendiary device.
6. Use of tracer rounds, steel-core ammunition or exploding targets including Binary Explosive Targets while recreational shooting.
7. Open burning (e.g. weeds, brush and yard debris).
In addition, the Nevada Division of Forestry, and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest prohibit operating vehicles off of existing hard surface gravel roads or dirt roads in wildland areas, and operating vehicles or equipment traveling on or using wildland areas without at least an axe, shovel and one gallon of water. All agencies recommend avoiding cross-country travel whenever possible to prevent hot exhaust systems from igniting grass and recommend that individuals carry cell phones while in the wildlands or national forests to report wildfires.
BLM - All areas, roads and trails on the BLM-Carson City District outside of developed recreation sites with the exception of Sand Mountain Recreation Area, and the portion of the Walker Lake Recreation Area within 100 yards of Walker Lake, or between Walker Lake and U.S. Highway 95 where camp fires are permitted.
USFS – all areas, roads and trails within the Carson and Bridgeport Ranger Districts on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest with the exception of using campfires within the approved fire pits or grills provided in open Fee Recreation sites.
NDF – all areas, roads and trails on State lands including the following state parks: Lake Tahoe Nevada, Washoe Lake, Berlin-Ichthyosaur, Rye Patch State Recreation Area, the Carson River Ranches portion of Ft. Churchill, and Dayton in western Nevada.
USFWS - all areas, roads and trails within the boundaries of the Stillwater, Anaho Island and Fallon National Wildlife Refuges. Campfires are prohibited on these refuge lands year-round.
BIA - Approximately 300 allotments encompassing 59,310 acres in Douglas County within the Carson River Watershed that the government holds in trust for hundreds of individual Indian landowners, collectively known as the Pine Nut allotments.
“Citizens are reminded that the charcoal grills cannot be used during fire restrictions,” Ross said. “Charcoal burns longer and hotter than wood and may appear to be cold; however, embers can linger for hours. Winds can spread the embers from charcoal and campfires into vegetation, igniting a wildfire. Propane or white gas stoves, however, are acceptable for use during fire restrictions.”
As fire season continues the agencies will be aggressively citing those who do not comply with the posted restrictions and those who use or possess fireworks. Violation of these prohibitions is subject to punishment by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than six months or both, as Class B misdemeanors under federal law (agency statutes vary). Persons may also be responsible for resource damage, suppression costs and any injuries that occur if they are found liable for causing a wildfire.
For more information or clarification on the restrictions, contact the BLM-Carson City District Office at 885-6000, the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest at 331-6444, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at 423-5128, the BIA at 887-3500, or the Nevada Division of Forestry at 849-2500.