Early Fire Season Hits Northern Nevada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Early Fire Season Hits Northern Nevada

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Jennifer Burton
Channel 2 News

Spring storms rolling through the region are wreaking havoc for firefighters. Flashes of lightning striking dry brush this week have led to lots of wildfires. Fire crews tackled more than two dozen brush fires Sunday and Monday... and they're expecting a busy season ahead.

"We never got out of fire season," said Mike Brown, North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief. "So what we're doing is making sure we're prepared, have enough staff. Times are tough and numerous departments have cut back. So everybody's working together to make sure our notification systems work and that we're able to suppress fires as rapidly as possible so we can keep them small."

The combination of a wet year last year, and a dry winter has produced vegetation that can catch fire quickly. This week's record temperatures and April thunderstorms don't help. Chief Brown says local agencies are already working together.

"Training is taking place throughout the sierra front, all across Northern Nevada, not just our organization, but our federal partners: the BLM, the US Forest Service, the Nevada Department of Forestry," he said. 

Brown says vegetation in the sierra has been thinned in the past, but fuels management is an area where fire agencies have some catching up to do.

"Those fuel beds are going to grow back," said Brown. "The forests are going to grow, the grasses are going to grow. So we need to do everything we can to try and manage that."

And Brown says fire agencies will have to act quickly.

"Where we do have fires we're going to have to mitigate those as rapidly as possible so when the calls come in we're going to send as much equipment as possible to ensure we can put them out so they don't get to the catastrophic phase."

Fire officials did say that because of the hot temperatures and the thundershowers, they're asking everyone to get a head start on creating defensible space around their homes.

Visit www.livingwithfire.info for more information.               

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