Reno Fire Officials Predict High Fire Danger

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

Cold Springs, NV - "It looked like it was going to go, the whole thing," says Vern Griffith, referring to a home just down the street. Yesterday, he watched it go up in smoke.

"There were a lot of flames from that house, beginning to billow out... a lot of smoke... And the fire department got here.
Oh, They got it out," he says.

Living in this area of Cold Springs, the hills and his neighbors' homes are surrounded by dry brush. And after witnessing that house burn on Monday, he knows how fast it can all happen.

"It wasn't a surprise totally because it's dry," says Griffith.

That's exactly what Sandy Munns, a fire behavior analyst for the City of Reno Fire Department is saying. And he's predicting our problems are just going to heat up.

"It's going to be a bad fire season this year. We have a lot of problem with very little moisture and precipitation over the winter and we have a lot of very dry fuels left over from last year," says Munns.

And cheat grass, which is known for burning quickly and carrying fires, is taller than usual.

"Normally, the snow pack squashes the cheat grass down. We didn't get enough snow this year to do that. So before we even get the new cheat growths of cheat grass, all of last year's fuels are still sticking up and still plentiful on the hillsides and ready to burn this minute," says Munns.

Reno Firefighters are worried about Wednesday, when a spark hitting anything like dry brush could ignite a major disaster.

"So we're really kind of nervous about tomorrow because it's going to be windy, it's going to be hot, and it's going to be very very dry," says Munns.

That's why Vern and Claudia Griffith regularly keep up their yard.
They know there's only so much they can do to prevent a fire and its spread. But creating a lot of defensible space is the first step.

Since you never know when a fire may start around your home, officials say now's the time to make sure you're maintaining your property. Keep combustibles like leaves and pine needles off your roof. And thin out the brush around your home.

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