Fire restrictions eased, but fuel very dry |

Fire restrictions eased, but fuel very dry

by Christy Chalmers, staff writer

Cool weather has eased fire restrictions imposed by three federal land managers, but it hasn’t changed the tinder-dry fuel still carpeting much of the area.

The Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Forest Service and the Nevada Division of Forestry lifted fire restrictions they imposed in July at midnight Friday. The decision means campfires, smoking and off-highway vehicle use that were previously banned are permitted again in areas where they are normally allowed.

The restrictions will stay in place for Spring Mountain National Recreation Area and the Mt. Charleston Fire Protection District, which are both in Clark County.

In addition, open burning is allowed in NDF districts effective today, with a permit and subject to air quality restrictions. The NDF covers the west side of Foothill Road to the California state line, except for Genoa, as well as the Alpine View and Jacks Valley neighborhoods.

Even with the cool weather, residents need to mind their matches, said East Fork Fire Inspector Terry Taylor.

“The dry fuels are still ready to go,” he said. “The grasses are still very dry and they will ignite and burn and set sage, pinon and juniper on fire.”

The East Fork Fire District covers most of Carson Valley and the Topaz Lake area. Statewide, firefighters tackled more than 1,050 fires this year that burned 646,200 acres, according to the Western Great Basin Coordination Center.

Taylor said East Fork probably won’t allow open burning until Nevada Day weekend, which is two weeks away.

The cool week kept East Fork firefighters busy. Electrical surges caused three fires Monday night, and Wednesday a chimney fire damaged a house near the Silver City RV Park south of Indian Hills, Taylor said.

“People still should have a high level of caution and awareness,” he said. “We still have a dry fuel problem.”

Breakout: For Nevada Division of Forestry burning permits, call 883-5995.