Monday, April 29, 2013

2013 Wildfire Awareness Week starts May 4

Residents urged to be proactive

"Reduce the Fuel — Reduce the Risk!" is the message for the 2013 Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week, which kicks off Saturday, May 4. Ed Smith, director of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Living With Fire Program, says this year’s message is a call to action.

“Reducing the fuel around homes and other structures is critical to survival during a wildfire,” Smith, a natural resource specialist, says. "Residents must be proactive, monitoring and removing appropriate fuels year-round."

Smith says there are three factors that control wildfire behavior:

  • Weather, including relative humidity, wind, and air temperature;
  • Topography, including steepness of slope, aspect, and slope position; and
  • Fuel, including amount, continuity, height, and moisture content.

Together, these three factors determine the ease in which a wildfire will start, direction it will go, how fast it will travel, length of its flames and how difficult it will be to suppress.

"Of these three factors, only the fuel can be altered in order to reduce the wildfire risk," Smith says. "That’s why we continue to focus our efforts on helping homeowners to know how to manage the vegetation and fuels around their homes."

Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week is a collaborative effort of local, state, and federal firefighting agencies, Extension, and many others. Proclamations and resolutions supporting the effort have been issued by Governor Brian Sandoval, the Nevada League of Cities, the Nevada Association of Counties, county commissioners, and other groups.

Events and activities are being held across the state. To see what is happening in various communities, visit and click on the Wildfire Awareness Week tab, or contact Sonya Sistare at or 775-336-0271.

Refer to the November/December 2012 issue of Nevada Magazine to read a feature story titled, "Fire Danger: Extreme."

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