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Cold Springs is located in the southeastern portion of Churchill County on U.S. Highway 50. There are eight total residential structures, five of which are within an NDOT Maintenance Station. The hazard assessment resulted in classifying Cold Springs in the Moderate Hazard category (48 points). A summary of the factors that contributed to the hazard rating is included in Table 5-4. The primary risk factors for Cold Springs were the lack of fire suppression and protection resources, lack of water sources, and the isolated location of the community.
Cold Springs is classified as an intermix condition. Structures are scattered throughout the wildland area with no clear line of demarcation between wildland fuels and back property fences, roads, and structures. Structure spacing varies: the NDOT Maintenance Station buildings are clustered together; the remaining structures are situated randomly within the community boundary.
All of the homes in the interface were built with non-combustible siding materials and composition, tile, or metal roofing. None of the homes observed had unenclosed balconies, porches, decks, or other architecture features that could create drafts and provide areas where sparks and embers can smolder and rapidly spread fire if ignited.
One of the homes did not meet the minimum defensible space in order to protect it from damage or loss during a wildfire. There is also one abandoned structure with debris accumulated around it.
There is no paid or volunteer fire department in Cold Springs, although there are two Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) dump trucks with slip-in water tanks (1,000 and 2,800-gallons) housed at the NDOT Maintenance Station that can be used to take water to wildfire suppression vehicles. Fire protection resources are available from the Fallon/Churchill VFD or Fallon NAS (by request). Additional resources are available through the Bureau of Land Management, dispatched from the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch, Minden, Nevada. Tables 5-1 and 5-2 list the types of wildfire resources, cooperating partners, and equipment available to Cold Springs to respond to a reported wildland fire. For any of the fire protection agencies the minimum response time to Cold Springs is approximately sixty to ninety minutes depending upon resource availability.
|Type of Equipment||Amount||Cooperating Partner|
(dump truck with slip-in tanks)
|2||Cold Springs NDOT Maintenance Station|
|Type 1 Engine
Type 3 Engine
Type 1 Water Tender (4,000 gal.)
|Type 1 Engine
Type 3 Engine
Type 6 Engine
Type 1 Water Tender
|Fallon Naval Air Station|
|Type of Equipment||Amount of Equipment||Cooperating Partner
|Type 3 Engine
Type 1 Air Tanker
|The closest available Bureau of Land Management resources dispatched by the Sierra Interagency Dispatch Center in Minden, Nevada|
|Source: Personal Communication with Leonard Waking Fire Management Officer BLM Carson City Field Office, Steven Edgar Fire Mitigation and Education Specialist BLM Carson City Field Office, Ed Harris Equipment Manager Fallon/Churchill VFD, Stuart Cook Fire Management Officer Fallon Naval Air Station, and Phil Cammarata Maintenance Manager Nevada Department of Transportation.|
One well with a 1,000-gallon storage tank is available as a draft source for fire suppression equipment at the NDOT Maintenance Station in Cold Springs.
Fires are reported in the Cold Springs area through 911 calls to the Churchill County Sheriff’s Office in Fallon.
Cold Springs has no formal community warning system in place for emergencies. Since all residents live in close proximity to one another, telephone or word-of-mouth is the primary warning method.
Cold Springs is located on a slightly sloping alluvial fan, with prevailing winds from the south/southwest. The terrain measures generally less than a five percent slope. In 1998 a 254-acre fire burned at Cold Springs, and in 1999 a 735-acre fire burned to the west of the 1998 fire. Fuel density was mostly light in the area surrounding the structures, estimated at less than one ton per acre. Fuels consisted primarily of sagebrush, Indian ricegrass, and rabbitbrush, with cheatgrass invasion. The light fuels around Cold Springs were considered a low fuel hazard at the time of the assessment, however annual cheatgrass production could dramatically increase in years of high precipitation and would pose a moderate fuel hazard to the community.
The worst-case scenario for Cold Springs would be a wildland fire that starts south of the community and spreads with a southwest wind into Cold Springs. Flame lengths would be low because of the sparse, low vegetation and would not be likely to ignite structures, though in a high cheatgrass production year, fire spread rates are likely and will decrease time before structures are threatened.
The historical record for fire ignitions indicates that ignition risks in the area are moderate. Cold Springs has no local fire suppression capabilities and no nearby water sources. That increases the possibility that any ignition might spread and ignite structures before fire suppression resources could arrive on the scene. The primary ignition risk factor in Cold Springs is lightning, given the previous lightning-caused ignitions that led to two large fires in the area. In years of increased moisture and cheatgrass growth, the ignition risk would be higher due to increased fuel loading.
Cold Springs is a very small community with no local fire suppression resources. Recommendations to reduce the risk of property loss due to a wildland fire are detailed below and summarized in Table 5-3.
Density and type of fuel around a home determines the potential fire exposure levels to the home. The goal of defensible space is to reduce the chances of a wildfire spreading into adjacent property and igniting homes and to reduce the risk of loss from a wildfire. General guidelines for creating defensible space around residences and structures in the community are given below, and illustrated in the Defensible Space Guidelines in Appendix D. See also the Homeowner’s Annual Checklist in Appendix D for additional information.
|Recommended Treatment||recommendation Description|
|Property Owners||Defensible Space Treatments||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes according to the guidelines in Appendix D.
Maintain defensible space as needed to keep the space lean, clean, and green.
|Fuel Reduction Treatments||Coordinate with Bureau of Land Management to construct a minimum 100-foot wide greenstrip around the community (Figure 5-1).|
|Churchill County||Fire Suppression Resources||Install a 5000-gallon water tank for fire suppression water supplies at the NDOT Maintenance Station.
Station a pick-up truck and a one-piece, slip-on, 100 to 200-gallon pump and tank unit with hose and hose reel in the community of Cold Springs.
|Fallon/Churchill VFD||Fire Suppression Resources||Coordinate with residents of Cold Springs to help provide wildland fire training and pursue grant funding for a 100 to 200-gallon slip-on pump and tank unit and truck.|
|Bureau of Land Management||Fuel Reduction Treatments||Coordinate with Cold Springs’ residents to construct a minimum 100-foot wide greenstrip around the community (Figure 5-1).|
|Fire Suppression Resources||Identify a minimum of four people from the community of Cold Springs and train them using the Basin Wildland Firefighter Training course.|
|Public Education||Distribute copies of the publication “Living With Fire”. This publication is free of charge. Copies can be requested from the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, (775) 784-4848.|
Cold Springs Fire History and Proposed Mitigation Project
Cold Springs Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary