Volume 33 | February 2017

As February continues to bring extreme precipitation and flooding, many folks assume Nevada won’t have much of a wildfire season. However, that assumption is far from the truth. Planning, preparing and informing ourselves is important against the threat of wildfires. In this issue, learn about who will provide evacuation expertise at the 3rd Annual Network Conference, an opportunity on how to plan and prepare for wildfire evacuation in this month’s blog, and find out what wildfire intensity means.

The Network Annual Conference
The 3rd Annual Network Conference will be held at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa on March 27th from 8am to 5pm. The Network Advisory Board identified “safe and effective evacuation” as the conference theme. Elwood Miller, The Network Coordinator, stated “It was clear from our community representatives that learning evacuation skills and community level evacuation planning was a priority for them.” Representatives from public agencies charged with conducting evacuations will emphasize resident as well as agency responsibilities and share experience-based knowledge as part of the conference agenda. Residents who have been evacuated will also be on hand to tell their stories.  Miller added that we are very fortunate to have excellent local evacuation expertise that can help us all be better prepared. Some of the conference highlights will include:
  • Mike Brown, former North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief, will describe what evacuation conditions could be like (e.g., dark, smoky, windy, no power, blowing embers, poor water pressure, people panicking, etc.)
  • Mel Holland, a Washoe Valley homeowner, will describe his recent Little Valley Fire experience and offer some retrospective advice.
  • North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Assistant Fire Marshal and nationally known evacuation expert Mark Regan will discuss how to properly evacuate your family.
  • Lake Tahoe Basin community leader Ann Grant and Mark Regan will present information on how to conduct a community evacuation drill.
  • Washoe County Emergency Manager Aaron Kenneston will provide some insight into community-level evacuation.
  • Robert Smith, Animal Services Coordinator with Washoe County Regional Animal Services will talk about safe evacuation of pets and livestock.
  • Brian Foote with Belfor Property Restoration will describe post-fire issues homeowners may experience when returning home after a wildfire.
  • Ryan Shane, Community Protection Coordinator with the Nevada Division of Forestry, will lead a discussion concerning the future of The Network.

There will also be a variety of evacuation related exhibitors available.

To register for the 3rd Annual Network Conference, click here.   

Plan and Prepare for Evacuation
I awoke to the smell of thick campfire-like smoke that had filtered into my bedroom. I jumped out of bed, turned on the bedroom light switch and nothing… the electricity was out. I ran to the window to see the glow of flames cresting the hill on the other side of McCarran Blvd, a major four-lane Reno highway. Since the wind was blowing and the fire was close and spreading, I made the decision to evacuate. Outside, the sky was orange from the wildfire and the street was congested with fire engines and trucks along with vehicles of evacuating residents. Fortunately, I was able to negotiate the chaos safely with my laptop in one hand and some clothes in the other. I’m lucky that my residence and I were unscathed from the wildfire. In the early morning hours of November 18, 2011, this was my experience during the Caughlin Fire. Continue reading...

What is Wildfire Intensity?
News reports often use the term “intensity” to describe the danger associated with an ongoing wildfire event.  But what does this term really mean? In highly technical terms a wildfire’s intensity is determined by the amount of heat energy generated over a unit of time per length of fire front. The amount of fuel available to feed the combustion process in combination with how fast the fire is spreading are obviously important factors governing a fire’s intensity. A wildfire’s intensity definitely affects fire behavior and is a critical factor in determining the dangers firefighters face and therefore the suppression strategies that are reasonable to employ. In more practical terms, a fire’s intensity can generally be observed by the height or length of the flames generated. The greater the length of the flames, the higher the intensity and the greater the danger to firefighters. Continue reading...
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.