Communities adapting to wildfire
There are several communities in Douglas County that neighbor on sage, brush or forest, which is generally referred to as wildland.
Fires that start in the wilderness can quickly threaten those neighborhoods, and their number has grown in the past two decades.
According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA in March, the number of acres developed next to the wilderness grew by a third in the two decades between 1990 and 2010
The actual number of homes grew by 41 percent, according to a report on the study in the June issue of Scientific American.
While the number of acres burned in wildfires has only increased slightly over the past few decades, the cost of fighting fires ballooned to $2.9 billion in 2017, the article reported.
In an effort to help those communities in the East Fork Fire Protection District prepare for the worst, firefighters are prepared to provide evacuation training to community groups, homeowners associations and other community forums.
The district, several local residents, and the Nevada Division of Forestry met recently to discuss participating in the Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Program.
A fire-adapted community is one that is able to safely coexist with wildfires, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group.
These communities are knowledgeable and engaged, and are able to lessen the reliance on extensive wildfire protection, East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini said.
One component of the Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Program is the development of community wildland fire protection plans.
Egress, education and water availability are some of the other issues that communities may address in their plans. Each community collaborates with local fire, as well as surrounding land and fire management agencies.
East Fork is considering creating geographic areas that have similar threats and hazards, and are seeking representatives from those areas.
Residents from Holbrook Highlands, Jobs Peak Ranch, Sheridan Acres, and Jacks Valley areas are participating.
The group hopes to be able to apply for grant funds to not only develop the plans but also to fund on the ground fuels management work in the future.
Strong relationships with the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service is essential to the group’s success, Carlini said.
“We currently enjoy very positive relationships with both agencies and have been able to do implement effective projects over the years, all with grant funds.”
One of the most successful programs, managed by East Fork Fire Deputy Fire Chief and Fire Marshal Steve Eisele, was the Compost Combustible Program.
Over the years when funding was available, the district was able to establish compost sites in several locations throughout the district.
For more information, contact East Fork at 775-782-9040 or visit livingwithfire.info.
For more information regarding the network, contact Michael Beaudoin at 775-684-2519 or visit to http://forestry.nv.gov/fire-adapted-communities/