Volume 34 | March 2017

This month was busy with the 3rd Annual Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Conference and planning Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month (NWAM) activities for the month of May. Continue reading to review how the conference went, learn about NWAM activities across the state, and read about Jamie’s experience as she replaced mulch around her home. 

Evacuation was the Theme and Survival is the Goal
On March 27, 2017, 105 people attended the 3rd Annual Conference of the Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities held at the Atlantis Casino, Resort and Spa in Reno, Nevada. Conference moderator, Elwood Miller opened the proceedings by reminding the attendees that fire adaptation is all about survival of people, homes, landscapes and firefighters when coming face to face with wildfire. At times, survival means removing one’s self from harm’s way  which results in evacuation. Retired Fire Chief Mike Brown informed the audience what conditions will be like when the evacuation call is given and the importance of being prepared. Chief Mark Regan, a nationally recognized expert on evacuation and Assistant Fire Marshal from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District, gave a run down on critical things to think about when planning the evacuation of your home and family and the need to practice by planning and conducting  evacuation drills. Ann Grant, resident from Zephyr Cove, outlined the planning required and many benefits that occurred when she helped organize an evacuation drill for her Skyland community. Aaron Kenneston, Emergency Manager for Washoe County, discussed the planning and readiness currently in place when large scale evacuations are necessary. Robert Smith, Animal Services Manager for Washoe County, informed participants about the resources available to care for pets and large animals during an evacuation event. A  property restoration specialist with Belfor Restoration, Brian Foote, wrapped up the presentations by giving the audience a taste of what conditions are often like after a fire and the clean-up and restoration that may be required. During lunch, Michelle Medley-Daniel of the National Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network informed the audience about efforts to expand the presence of Fire Adapted Communities on a national scale and the need to network and learn from everyone’s efforts. The highlight of the day was a presentation by West Washoe Valley resident Mel Holland, as he told the story of his evacuation experience from the recent Little Valley Fire. Mel emphasized the need to think ahead and when asked to go, the best decision is to go. Following the presentations on evacuation, Ryan Shane, Community Protection Coordinator with the Nevada Division of Forestry, informed the attendees about a new effort to create a statewide organization in support of local efforts to become fire adapted. Conference participants expressed appreciation for the comprehensive coverage of evacuation and gave the conference high marks in their formal evaluation. If you missed it, you can find all of the presentations and contact information for presenters on our website at http://www.livingwithfire.info/the-network.

Replacing Mulch with Mulch
Since starting as the Outreach Coordinator with the Living With Fire Program, I have learned that landscape mulch located next to the house is undesirable. This is because, from a defensible space stand point, embers from a  wildfire can ignite the mulch, and produce flames next to the house, possibly igniting it as well. Since then, my husband and I searched for a better alternative to replace all the wood mulch we currently have. We’ve come to the conclusion that our best option is…mulch.

You may think that I’m off my rocker. I’ve advocated against mulch in former blog posts. Now I’m replacing my mulch with mulch? Well hear me out. My husband loves the look of mulch, and considering that decomposed granite or DG was a little more expensive, we compromised on.. . Continue reading...

Coming Soon: Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month
Wildfire threatens Nevada communities almost every year. The result has been destruction of homes, devastation of property and loss of human life. Key to surviving and minimizing the wildfire impacts to Nevada communities are informed and proactive residents. Nevada’s local, state, and federal firefighting agencies; wildfire prone communities; and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension are once again preparing for this year’s Wildfire Awareness Month, coming this May.  Our message is:  “Wildfire!  Prepare. Anticipate. Evacuate.” Residents of Nevada’s wildfire-prone communities are encouraged to…
  • Prepare: Make ready their family, property and possessions now, before a wildfire starts. This includes creating defensible space around their homes, using ignition resistant building materials, providing appropriate access for firefighters and their equipment, and developing a family evacuation plan.
  • Anticipate: Monitor environmental conditions and know when significant wildfire behavior is expected. When these conditions are present, they should review their family evacuation plan, check their family To-Go bag, assemble a Disaster Supply Kit and be prepared to evacuate family members and pets on a moment’s notice.
  • Evacuate: Quickly leave their homes in an organized and orderly fashion when instructed by emergency responders. Because they have effectively prepared and anticipated the wildfire event, they are able to safely and more conveniently relocate until the wildfire threat has passed.
Events are scheduled across the state to encourage you to take action. You can find out what is happening in your community by visiting http://www.livingwithfire.info/wildfire-awareness-month.
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension | Living With Fire Program | roicej@unce.unr.edu
This newsletter is provided by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, an EEO/AA institution, with funding from a State Fire Assistance grant from the Nevada Division of Forestry and USDA Forest Service. Additional support is provided by the Bureau of Land Management - Nevada State Office.