Crews on High Alert During Red Flag Warning

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CARSON CITY, NV - Hot weather and high winds created dangerous fire conditions Friday. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning, something it'll likely do every time the winds pick up for the rest of the summer. That means fire crews will be on high alert.

The best defense against fire is a quick attack. If crews get to a blaze quickly, they can keep it from spreading and reduce destruction, but doing that requires a lot of preparation.

High winds, dry fuels, and low humidity are all signs of fire danger.

"Certainly any type of ignition has the potential to get up and run," said Pete Anderson, the NDF State Forester.

Nevada Department of Forestry State Forester Pete Anderson says red flags put his agency on high alert. They're ready to move at a moment's notice.

"The quicker we can get to the fire, keep it small and manageable, the better," said Anderson.

First to respond is usually a helicopter.

"I would say we should be airborne within 15 minutes of the time we are dispatched," said Aaron Reynolds, NDF Helicopter Manager.

On board, the helicopters carry a specialized crew. They're dropped near flames to start cutting a fire line while other crews are still trying to gain access.

Crews attach a firefighting bucket capable of dropping 250 gallons. The first water hits the flames only minutes later.

"The access for engines and other incoming resources tends to take a little longer than us," said Reynolds.

Those other crews, though, are often not far behind. They're at the ready in fire-prone areas, before flames break out.

"Strategically place our resources in different areas along the Sierra front enabling us to have a quicker response to fire should that occur," said Battalion Chief Joe Fording of the NDF

For example, Friday, there were two crews in the Tahoe basin. They were doing fuels reduction work but ready ready to switch gears the moment they see smoke.

"It is not going to be 100 percent but certainly by having that strong initial attack capability, we can keep well over 90 percent of them small," said Anderson.

So they are doing their part and they ask that you do yours. Don't be the cause of a wildfire. Be careful whenever using anything that can cause a spark.