Volume 42 | November 2017
Cloudy skies, brisk air and stormy weather don’t necessarily mean that fire season is over. The Caughlin Fire in November 2011 and the Washoe Drive Fire in January 2012 proved that wildfire can occur year-round. Continue reading to learn about the lessons from these fires, to find out what exciting agenda items are in store for the upcoming 4th Annual Conference of the Network of Fire Adapted Communities, and to register for the conference. 
The Network Annual Conference
Coming in March 2018
2017 Network of Fire Adapted Communities Conference.  Attendees sitting at round tables watching a speaker, with presentation content on adjacent screens.
A scene from the 2017 Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Conference. 
Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.
The 4th Annual Conference of the Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities will be held at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa, Reno on March 12. The Network members, residents of Nevada’s wildfire prone communities and fire service representatives are encouraged to attend. Ed Smith, Chairman of The Network Advisory Board, stated “The board members put a lot of thought into creating a program that would be informative and supportive to communities striving to become more fire adapted.” Some of the highlights will include:

  • Kim Zagaris, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, shares his first hand observations from California’s disastrous fire season.

  • Bob Roper, former State Forester of Nevada Division of Forestry, presents an overview of how far we’ve come with the fire adapted community concept.

  • Meet the new coordinator of The Network.

  • A group discussion regarding the updated organization and operation of The Network. 

Five Lessons Learned Following
the Caughlin Fire
Aerial view of houses and burnt landscaping after the 2011 Caughlin Fire.
The Caughlin Fire burned 1900 acres and destroyed or damaged 43 structures. 
Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.
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 street. 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 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. This Saturday marks the six-year anniversary of this fire. A total of 1900 acres and 43 structures were destroyed or damaged and 8,000 people were evacuated. Continue reading and consider these lessons learned from the Caughlin Fire.
Can Your Ashes
A Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District ash can.
Ash cans should be used to properly dispose
of fireplace ashes. Photograph courtesy of
Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.
This coming January marks the six-year anniversary of the Washoe Drive Fire. This winter fire took one person’s life, destroyed 29 homes and burned approximately 3,200 acres in the Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley areas south of Reno. The cause of the fire was thought to be attributed to the disposal of fireplace ashes. Presented below is information prepared by the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District concerning proper fireplace ash disposal.

With the increased use of outdoor fireplaces and alternative heating/cooking methods, the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District would like to remind you of proper ways to dispose of leftover ashes. Nationally, improper ash disposal from indoor and outdoor fireplaces and wood burning stoves causes thousands of fires every year.

Many people do not realize the length of time required for ashes to cool enough for disposal. Even after several days, a pile of ashes can hold enough heat to reignite and start a fire. Four days, or 96 hours, is the minimum recommended cooling period for ashes. Extra care should be used in the storage and final disposal.

When disposing of the ashes, you should use the following procedures:

  • Make sure there are no hot spots left in the ashes. This is done by soaking them in water or letting them sit for several days and double checking for hot spots. This would apply to charcoal grill ashes as well.

  • All ashes should then be stored in a fire-resistant metal container. This helps keep air from blowing through and disturbing ashes which can leave hot coals exposed for reigniting. Approved containers are available at local retailers. They should NEVER be disposed of in a plastic garbage box or can, a cardboard box or paper grocery bag. Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.

  • The metal container should be placed away from anything flammable. It should not be placed next to a firewood pile, up against or in the garage, on or under a wood deck or under a porch.

  • After sitting for a week in the closed metal container, check them again to be sure that they are cool. If so, the ashes are then safe to dispose of in your trash.

Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District currently offers free ash cans to ALL Washoe County residents. Click to obtain your free ash can.

Ash cans can also be purchased from your local hardware store.
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.