RENO, NV - Spring is usually the right time to clear brush and weeds and burn them. Not this year.
Reno and Washoe County never lifted last year's ban on open burning and Sparks just renewed its ban.
"The fuel moisture content and relative humidity levels were not good," says Reno Fire Marshal Joan Presley. "and we felt like it was not safe to open burning, so we didn't."
If that seems unusual. It is.
"It's the first time I've ever seen this, yes, in 24 years," says Presley.
It's not just the dry winter that's created this danger. It's last year's wet winter followed by this year's drought.
"We have a lot of vegetation from last year that's dried out, that's underneath this year's crop of vegetation. So. It's a heavy load and it's dry."
It all adds up, Presley says to conditions we normally see in August.
That's usually the peak of fire season and it's still two months off.
As we've learned again this week, fire season now seems to ignore the calendar.
"I don't know that it will get better," says Presley. "We live in a fire prone area. We need to work on this. We need to work on our defensible, survival space. We need to learn to live with this. We need to learn to live with fire."
Ironically clearing defensible space is a major reason for the controlled burns we usually see at this time of year.
Presley says they don't want to discourage people from clearing brush and grass. They just can't allow them to burn it.
They do have a alternative. There are four biomass collection sites in the area where people can take that material.
You'll find them under Hot Topics.