Campers Urged to Use Caution During Labor Day Weekend - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Campers Urged to Use Caution During Labor Day Weekend

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Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer and often involves an extended weekend of camping. That obviously means more campfires and barbecues. But it's also late in the summer when fuels are really starting to dry out. That's why officials are asking people to control those fires and make sure to put them out.

"Make sure that it's cold to the touch," Chief Charles Moore, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District said. "Ashes will stay hot, just like in your fireplace. It's the same thing as don't put hot ashes out on your deck."

Wildfire activity has picked up in recent weeks, and that's not unusual. Fire season tends to peak around this time of the year, especially after three years of drought. Mary Fernandez is a Reno resident that is camping at the Logger Campground at Stampede Reservoir. She knows how careless behavior can lead to wildfires.

"We were camping over 4th of July weekend, down in Winters, California, and we had to evacuate because of a wildfire," Fernandez said.

The Fernandez family is avoiding campfires altogether. Instead, they're using a propane fire pit instead.

Others stick with the more traditional method.  The Grahams plan on making a campfire, but have tools, water, and fire extinguishers, on hand.

"We'll all use one fire pit and we're all usually around it and they're pretty conscientious, too, about the fire," Dennis Graham said. "And we have buckets and what have you."

They also keep an eye on other people's campfires. But it's also the fuel that concerns them.  Their campsite is covered in dry pine needles.

"This debris on the ground, is highly flammable," Graham said. "You have to really watch it and be careful because a spark on the ground is going to light it up."

Taking responsibility is something everyone involved says will go a long way in keeping this holiday weekend safe from fires.

"There's risk all the way around but if people use just a little bit of safety and precautions, then we'll get through the season just fine," Moore said.

Moore says fire danger will remain high throughout the fall until we get some snow.  With hunting season coming up, he says it's important to keep vehicles off tall grass that could light up.  And use lead ammunition instead of steel, just in case it ricochets.

Written by Paul Nelson
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