Drought Conditions Raise Fire Danger

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With drought conditions boosting seasonal fire threats ahead of schedule, fire restrictions will go into effect Friday on state and federal lands across much of Nevada.

Local agency fire management officers said grass, brush and timber in western Nevada and eastern California are drying out more than a month early due to high temperatures and lack of moisture.

In recent years, some of the region's biggest fires have started in June, state and federal officials said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

"The potential for another devastating fire during the continuing drought is very real," they said.

The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Division of Forestry will impose the fire restrictions at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, effective until further notice, the agencies said.

They will apply to all roads and trails below 8,000 feet within the boundaries of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest's Carson ranger district and all Nevada Division of Forestry areas roads and trails within the Sierra Forest Fire Protection District in Carson, Douglas and Washoe counties.

The restrictions will apply to all areas, roads and trails on BLM lands in northwest Nevada outside of developed recreation sites, with the exception of Sand Mountain and parts of the Walker Lake Recreation Area.

The restrictions prohibit:

- building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire or stove fire, except a portable stove using gas or pressurized liquid fuel, outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area, except by permit

- smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area

- welding or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit

- using or causing to be used, any explosive, except by permit

- firing a tracer, incendiary device or possessing/using fireworks

- open burning of weeds, brush, yard debris.

In addition, the Nevada Division of Forestry prohibits operating vehicles off of existing hard surface gravel roads or dirt roads in wildland areas and operating vehicles or equipment traveling on or using wildland areas without at least an ax, shovel and one gallon of water.