September 2016    
Registration for the 3rd Annual Network Conference is now open! See sidebar for more details. In this month's issue we discuss possible fire-retardant coatings for fences, how the National Weather Service helps to keep residents informed and safe, how to nominate someone for a Wildfire Mitigation Award, and three methods for keeping a home inventory. We hope you enjoy the new look of our newsletter!
 Wildfire Mitigation Awards

Do you know someone who has made an outstanding contribution in the mitigation of wildfire risks to your community? Now is the time to nominate an individual; federal, state or local agency; or organization for this national award. The Wildfire Mitigation Awards are the highest national honor one can receive for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire preparedness and mitigation. The 2017 Wildfire Mitigation Awards nomination period will close on October 30, 2016.
The three award categories include:
  • National Wildfire Mitigation Award
  • National Mitigation Hero Award
  • National Special Recognition Mitigation Award
These awards are designed to recognize outstanding service in wildfire preparedness and safety across a broad spectrum of activities and among a variety of individuals and organizations. By honoring their achievements, the award sponsors also seek to increase public recognition and awareness of the value of wildfire mitigation efforts.
To learn more about this award, or to complete the online application, visit:
The Wildfire Mitigation Awards are jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and the USDA Forest Service (USFS). 
For any questions about the award process, contact Meghan Rhodes at or (703) 896-4839.
Partner Spotlight:
Western Nevada National Weather Service - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The National Weather Service office in Reno, Nevada. Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Weather is a huge contributor to the intensity of wildfires. The combination of temperature, humidity, wind and thunderstorms can all combine to aid, or impede firefighters' in their work to control a fire. These weather elements can also create conditions where a fire can easily start and spread rapidly. The National Weather Service (NWS) serves a crucial role in providing up-to-date weather conditions and forecasts to aid firefighters as well as to inform the public when extra caution is needed while working or playing outdoors.
For example, when the NWS issues a red flag warning, they focus on informing the public to be extra cautious when engaged in any activity that has the potential of igniting a fire. If the landscape is hazy from smoke, the NWS informs the public where the smoke originated, and when the smoke might clear. They also distribute contact information for air quality professionals who can provide advice to avoid the health problems associated with wildfire smoke. During large fires, the weather service aids firefighters by deploying a specially trained incident meteorologist to a fire location to provide onsite forecasts that contribute to the safety of all personnel involved in fire containment. The meteorologist works closely with a fire behavior analyst to predict the intensity of the flames, how fast the fire will spread, and the most likely path the fire will follow. Knowing this increases the fire fighters ability to plan and carry out successful attacks on the fire.
Their mission states the NWS "provides weather, water and climate data, forecasts and warnings for the protections of life and property and enhancement of the national economy." According to Edan Weishahn, meteorologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Reno, "We aren't doing our job if we aren't protecting lives and property".
For weather updates from the NWS in Western Nevada, follow them on Twitter @NWSReno, on Facebook @ US National Weather Service Reno Nevada, or visit their website @ . For other areas in Nevada, check out the NWA offices located in Elko or Las Vegas.

Inventory my belongings?
If a fire destroyed your home, would you be able to remember the estimated value and age of all your possessions for insurance purposes? Check out this month's blog as Jamie reviews three methods for keeping a home inventory of personal belongings.

Ask an Expert:
Are there fire-retardant coatings for fences?

A wildland fire near Dayton ignited this wooden fence which carried the fire to the house. Photograph courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

The Living With Fire team received this inquiry from a Reno resident; "I have a relatively new redwood fence behind my house. I have not put any coatings or sealants on it yet. I would like to know if there are fire-retardant coatings available that can be applied by the homeowner and are there any that you recommend?"
We turned to Steve Quarles, PhD and Senior Scientist at the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) for the answer:
"There are several coatings that can be used on wood and wood-based products. These are mostly in the category of film-forming intumescent coatings (i.e., one that swells when heated to protect the material beneath), but you will also find stains that have fire-retardant properties. The performance problem related to intumescent fire-retardant coatings used in exterior applications is knowing how long they will be effective. In general, these coatings don't weather well, so won't provide an enhanced performance over the long term when used on exterior components. We are in the middle of a long-term project where we are evaluating the performance of selected intumescent coatings that we are weathering on an outdoor test fence. We should have an interim report by the end of this year. Until the coating formulations improve, we would suggest relying on the things you already know (e.g., developing and maintaining a good defensible space on your property)."
The end result is that the "jury is still out" on fire-retardant coatings for fences, but there may be some answers in the near future. Meanwhile, maintain wooden fences in good condition, remove combustible vegetation near the fence and create a noncombustible fence section or gate next to the house for at least five feet.
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.
In This Issue

Stay Connected