Drought and fire

It’s difficult to gauge how a drought year will affect the summer fire season. 

With less than a tenth of the precipitation that typically falls in Minden this time of year, it’s possible that a lot of the cheat and other grasses that spring to life around this time of year won’t be quite so thick.

However, whatever vegetation survived last year’s conflagrations is still on the mountain and still dry as ever, and that’s a big concern, especially in the Sierra Front.

Most of the damage from the Tamarack Fire occurred deeper in the mountains south of Carson Valley, but that damage was significant.

We have no choice but to brace for another record fire season because all the indicators are pointing in that direction.

We know you don’t have to have a wall of flame bearing down on you to be affected by the fires. Last year’s megafires pumped smoke into Carson Valley for weeks at a time from June until September. 

The fires resulted in both the Fairgrounds and the Douglas County Community & Senior Center being shut down for evacuations. Both Highways 50 and 88 were closed as the fires burned over them, reducing supplies. And the smoke, oh the smoke, resulted in people having to close up their homes during the warmest time of year.

But all is not lost. There are actions people can take to protect themselves and their property.

We encourage residents in the wildland interface to start working on their defensible space.

It might even be a good idea for those
who live in town to at least take a look at
livingwithfire.com to check out ways to
improve survivability in a wildfire.

The key to resilience is to come together as a community, to make sure our most vulnerable residents are served. 

We don’t have a crystal ball, but we do have a pretty good handle on the history of this place. Let’s recognize that we’ve seen what can happen and do our best to prepare should it happen again.



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