Firefighters Continue Stressing Wildfire Prevention This Summer - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Firefighters Continue Stressing Wildfire Prevention This Summer

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Nevada is seeing some of the worst drought conditions in decades, and the risk of wildfire increases when the temperatures climb.

Fire officials want to remind you to be extra careful this fire season.

"We ask people to be very careful when they're in the woods and in the rangeland, and be careful with fire," said Mike Heikka, Battalion Chief with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD).

TMFPD has seen fires break out easily in our dry conditions.

"A little bit of wind, just dry days," Heikka said. "The relative humidity is down in the single digits. So, it's just explosive out there."

Fire officials are asking everyone to only burn wood or to barbecue in designated campgrounds. At the Davis Creek Campground, I talked to campers who know just how easy it is to start a fire.

"Especially when they use their papers for starting a fire, the paper jumps out," said Richard White of Reno. "There's a lot of dry pine needles on the ground, and a spark in those pine needles will start a fire."

"If you have too big of a campfire, then you can't enjoy Mother Nature like this," said Maggie Whitehead of Carson City. "It would be gone. We wouldn't be able to come up here and enjoy and have all the shade that we can actually have, and it's just a beautiful environment."

If you're a smoker, fire officials say don't do it outside a designated area, and don't flick your cigarette butts outside of your car window.

They also say to be responsible when target shooting, by practicing at an approved gun range.

"This year alone, I've seen five fires so far that have been caused by people target shooting," Heikka said. "Two of them were from exploding targets, and the others were from people who were out shooting."

He says if you do start a fire, you could be held financially responsible.

"We will come back and try to recoup our costs, even a small fire, a couple acres," Heikka said. "We use a couple air tankers, hand crews, things like that. We can spend $10-15,000 in a short period to suppress that fire."

He says if you accidentally start a fire, it's best to stay in a safe spot near the fire area and immediately call 911, so you can direct firefighters to the exact location.

For more about fire prevention: http://www.livingwithfire.info/

Written by Adam Varahachaikol
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