Big winter will bring late fire season
With one of the biggest winters in years and the snowpack level at 200-300 percent of normal, it is expected that the excessive precipitation will likely push the start of the 2017 fire season back a couple months.
“Below normal significant wildland fire potential is expected to develop across northern portions of the Great Basin and far Western Nevada in May and June,” reports the National Interagency Fire Center.
However, the low risk scenario will not last forever once the moisture is gone.
Both NIFC and the Reno National Weather Service are leaning toward July or August timeframe for the grasses to cure, dry, and for fire season to heat up.
“The fire season has the potential to get busy quickly mid- to late-summer once we have a few good heat waves, the snow is gone and grasses have cured and dried,” reported Edan Weishahn, Reno NWS at the annual Media Training Day held on May 3 at the Truckee Meadows Community College Redfield campus.
The training is a refresher on basic fire behavior, wildland fire awareness and fire shelter deployment for regional media prior to fire season.
“With the abundance of precipitation this winter, we expect a healthy grass crop throughout the region, and once those grasses dry up, we’re off to the races,” said North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Fire Chief Ryan Sommers.
Sommers, also the chairman of the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, said Sierra Front Team members are currently coordinating the annual Inter-Agency Sand Table Exercise. The event will take place at the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center, 2311 Firebrand Circle in Minden on June 15 and is designed to exercise inter-agency involvement while utilizing the Incident Command System.
This annual event is a hands on refresher for fire and collaborating agencies prior to fire season.