Defensible space is needed
January 9, 2019
County Commissioner Larry Walsh described being evacuated after a grass fire threatened his Ruhenstroth home in 2016.
The fire, which claimed one home and singed several others, didn't burn in what is traditionally described as the wildland.
It was a grass fire that the wind drove across an unkempt field that had at one time been irrigated and mowed, producing hay.
Last summer, a fire in a dry field surrounded by houses claimed a Topaz home. By contrast, the only large wildfire in Carson Valley that could be described as being in the wildland interface was stopped short of destroying any homes.
An irrigated and mowed field is one of the safest places from fire, but left to themselves, those same fields can be a hazard to neighbors, particularly in dry years.
A grass fire burns hot and fast, and since pretty much any spark can set it off, can catch residents off guard.
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That's why ranchers are such important stewards of the land.
Those who live in the Pine Nuts or up in the trees in the Carson Range are familiar with wildfires and know that they have to leave room around their homes where firefighters can make a stand.