Wildfire Awareness Kicks Off

Wildfire Awareness
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On a cool day, the threat of a wildfire may seem distant, but experts say we're only a few hot, windy days away from the start of what could be a destructive fire season.

That's why homeowners in northern Nevada are getting ready during this "wildland fire awareness week".

It's a lesson we seem to re-learn each year, but not quite two years after the Waterfall Fire, the homeowners who attended a briefing in Carson City today needed no refresher on the potential danger of wildfire.

The video "Living With Fire" produced at News Channel 8 is the latest educational effort from the people at Cooperative Extension on the subject. It features our news footage of 2004's Waterfall fire, which claimed 17 homes.

After a wet winter, there's a potential for this happening again. The forecast is for later and low - a later start to the fire season and greater danger at lower elevations.

At first glance, a home in Lakeview Estates appears to be well-prepared, with a fire-resistant roof and siding, and lots of mature vegetation, both planted and natural. However, experts look at it and see something else - danger.

Actually, the homeowner is aware more could be done, and agreed to serve as a model for building defensible space. There's lots to be done - natural vegetation to be thinned, trees to be pruned back, and cheat grass to be eliminated. And then there are those ornmmental junipers next to the house, and scattered throughout the nearby plantings.

Junipers are a special issue. They're commonly planted next to homes, and they're highly flammable. Cooperative Extension is making homeowners a deal this year, to cut out the junipers and get free flowers to replace them.
That's a deal that local resident Jenny Haas thought was a good swap, and a safer one.