Most commonly, wildfires are started by lightning or human-related activities. The proportion at which each type of ignition source occurs is not consistent across the U.S., but varies considerably by region. So far this year in Nevada, 69% of the acres that burned were due to wildfires ignited by lightning while 31% of the acres burned were from human-related causes. Nationally, however, on average over 80% of the acres that burn were due to human-caused wildfires.
Human-caused fires are of particular concern since they can occur year round and are often located near residential areas. Some of Nevada’s human-caused fires include:
- Caughlin Fire, Reno – Arcing powerlines.
- Hawken Fire, Reno – Sparks from grinding.
- Waterfall Fire, Carson City – Abandoned campfire.
- Washoe Drive Fire, Washoe Valley – Improper ash disposal.
- Autumn Hills Fire, Carson Valley – Kids playing with matches.
In Nevada, human-caused wildfire can occur from equipment, smoking, open/outdoor fires, debris or vegetation burning, arson, man-made intentional acts, misuse of fire, or events that are undetermined.