August 2016    
The trend in wildland fire acres burned continues to increase. Since the wildfire threat is projected to get worse, why not sign up your community during the Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities membership drive? If you have the most new members, your community could be featured in September's Network Pulse! Continue reading to determine good plant choices for your landscape, get an update on the current fire season, and learn about common wildfire misconceptions. We hope you like this month's Network Pulse!
 More Wildfire in Our Future

Figure 1. Total wildland fire acres burned by year in the United States for the period of 1985 to 2015. (Source: National Interagency Fire Center)

There is more wildfire in our future. Figure 1 portrays the trend in wildland fire acres burned from 1985 to 2015. While there has been year to year variability, the trend has been a steady increase in acres burned. Figure 2 shows total acres burned since 1960 and ranks the ten greatest fire seasons on record. As measured by total acres burned, 9 of the 10 greatest fire seasons on record have occurred since 2000. Experts predict that this trend of increasing acres burned in the U.S. will continue. The reasons for this disturbing trend are attributed to:
  • Active fire suppression and reduced forest and rangeland management activities during previous decades that have allowed a substantial build-up of wildfire fuels.
  • An increase in flammable invasive vegetation such as cheatgrass.
  • Continued drought and a warming climate that contribute to the possibility of extreme wildfire behavior.
As a result, the threat to human life, homes, wildland-urban interface landscapes, watersheds and critical wildfire habitat will also increase.

Figure 2. Total wildland fire acres burned by year in the United States for the period of 1960 to 2015. *Numerals reflect ranked order of values in terms of total acres burned by year. (Source: National Interagency Fire Center)

In response, the nation's wildland firefighting experts have been developing a plan (i.e., The National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy) to address the growing wildfire threat. In the plan they identified the following three goals:
  • Restore and maintain landscapes.
  • Create fire-adapted communities.
  • Improve wildland fire response.

The Network Fall Membership Drive

Since you are already receiving this newsletter, you are a member of The Network or are thinking about joining. If you are currently a member, we thank you for showing concern for the wildfire threat to your home and community. Are your neighbors signed up as well? Forming a community group of concerned residents can provide a nucleus of energy and ideas to maintain everyone's attention on the wildfire threat. Still thinking about joining? Now's the perfect time to join!

We are holding a membership drive from September 1 to September 22 to help encourage you to join as an individual or expand your membership in The Network as a Community Group. As an incentive, we will provide a feature article about the efforts of the community with the most new members in the September issue of The Network Pulse. Here are a few ideas to help get you started:
  • Host a special "bring a neighbor" activity at your next HOA, neighborhood watch or other community meeting and include a special presentation about The Network. You might be surprised by how many people in your community were just waiting for a personal invitation to attend! For others, it just may not be on their radar and an invitation to attend could help.
  • Call or email your neighbor after they have attended a meeting. Thank them for participating and ask them to join The Network.
  • Ask for a supply of membership applications to display in your clubhouse, post on a message board, or consider delivering them door-to-door with other volunteers from your neighborhood.
  • Think "What's In It For Me?" That's what your neighbors are asking themselves. Be sure to tell them specifically how joining The Network and forming a community group will benefit them.
  • Talk to lots of people about The Network. Sales experts say it takes ten calls to make one sale.
To learn more about The Network or to find membership applications, go to 

Debunking Wildfire Myths
Have you scrutinized your homeowner's insurance policy to confirm that you are not underinsured if a wildfire destroys your home? OR did you know that a majority of homes destroyed during wildfire are from embers that can travel up to a mile away from a fire? Follow Jamie's blog here to learn more wildfire myths and prepare to be debunked!

FACt: Good Plant Choices
A key component to an effective defensible space is the selection and use of less hazardous plants in the residential landscape. Ideally, the area within at least 30 feet of the house should emphasize landscape plants that are difficult to ignite by embers generated during a wildfire and if ignited, would not produce sufficient heat to ignite the house. The characteristics of good plant choices for landscapes that may be exposed to wildfire are described below:
  • High Moisture Content: Plants with high moisture content are harder to ignite and burn less intensely than plants with low moisture content. Herbaceous and succulent vegetation possess the highest moisture content. These include healthy, actively growing annual and perennial flowers (e.g. tulips, columbines, iris, blanket flower, daisies, etc.), succulents (e.g. cacti and ice plant) and green grass (e.g. turf grass). However, when these plants start to cure out in the fall, their dry top growth should be removed.

   The blanket flower is a high moisture content plant and

   is recommended as a good plant choice. Photograph

   courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

  • Low-Growing Habit: Plants that are low growing typically have less fuel and produce shorter flames when ignited than taller plants. Emphasize plants that are less than two feet in height at maturity or which can be maintained at that height with pruning. Shrubs fitting this description include certain varieties of spirea and potentilla.

   The shorter varieties of Spirea are recommended as a good plant choice.

   Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

  • Lack Flammable Chemicals: Many evergreen shrubs and trees such as pine, juniper, and arborvitae contain flammable oils and resins. Under the right conditions, these plants can burn very intensely. As a rule of thumb, deciduous shrubs and trees are a better choice to have within 30 feet of the house.

   Arborvitae (the taller evergreen) and junipers (the shrub below the window)

   can be very flammable and are NOT recommended plant choices within

   30 feet of the house. Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada

   Cooperative Extension.

Regardless of plant type, keep your landscape vegetation healthy and free of dead plant material during fire season.

In the News


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.
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