Fire Officials Talk Wildfire Prevention

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Some fire officials say action needs to be taken to curb the spread of an invasive plant species that may help spawn wildfires.

Firefighters gathered at the Peppermill casino in Reno Wednesday for a California-Nevada-Hawaii Fire Council conference. State Forest-Fire Warden Pete Anderson of the Nevada Division of Forestry spoke at the event. Anderson said the widespread plant species “cheatgrass” is highly flammable and serves as “perfect fuel for lightning strikes to cause additional fires.”

Nevada’s fire season is now winding down. However, Anderson said it is one of the worst the state has faced, and more than one million acres were lost.

Rex McKnight, of the Bureau of Land Management, said next fire season could be similar unless more snow falls and fuels are compressed. McKnight also said various ideas to combat the cheatgrass problems are being considered, including: herbicides, mowing and encouraging animals to graze on it.

The Fire Council’s conference continues Thursday.