After the Washoe Drive Fire, Surveying the Land

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email
Photo courtesy of Tim Krane

Photo courtesy of Tim Krane

RENO, NV - Experts are getting a better look at how the Washoe Drive Fire damaged our land and has made it more susceptible to natural disasters. Monday, members from several agencies fanned out along US-395 in Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley to survey the damage.

At the Nevada Division of Forestry office in Washoe Valley, about a dozen people from different agencies got ready to head out to check out areas along 395 which were scorched by the Washoe Drive Fire.

"We're looking for any potential hazards to the safety and the public," says Cheryl Surface, park planner for the Washoe County Department of Regional Parks and Open Space.

They're honing in on three areas in particular.

"Steamboat Creek is definitely one of our priority areas that we want to take a look at," says Surface. "We'll want to look at the Browns and Galena Creek."

That's because those areas are most prone to erosion and flooding when the next big storm hits - because so much of the vegetation was destroyed in the fire and left bare soil.

The agencies involved in the survey are: Washoe County, Nevada Division of Forestry, USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Service, Bureau of Land Management, Federal Emergency Management Agency, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washoe Tribe, Nevada Department of Public Safety, Nevada Land Conservancy, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The objective of this multi-agency team, called BAER, is to initiate prompt action for immediate rehabilitation of watersheds to minimize the threat to human life and property, reduce the loss of soil productivity, decrease the deterioration of water quality, and determine areas for future revegetarian.

"We'll assess priority areas that we may need to return to," says Surface. "We'll put together a plan for each of those areas."

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