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Lamoille is located approximately twenty miles east of Elko on State Route 227 in western Elko County. Lamoille and the surrounding valley is a ranching community in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains. The town is situated at an elevation of approximately 5,700 feet. The community hazard assessment resulted in classifying Lamoille in the High Hazard category (71 points). A summary of the factors that contributed to the hazard rating is included in Table 12-3. The high rating is attributed to limited access, limited water resources for fire suppression, and the potential for extreme fire behavior. The community boundary identified for this report is shown in Figure 12-1.
The wildland-urban interface around Lamoille is an intermix condition. Structures are scattered throughout the community and in wildland fuels, with no clear line of demarcation between structures and wildland fuels. Approximately one-half of the homes are on parcels less than one acre in size, one-half are on parcels of one to ten acres in size.
Ninety-three percent of the homes observed in the interface area are built with non-combustible or highly fire resistant siding materials such as medium density fiberboard. Ninety-seven percent of the homes have fire resistant roofing materials such as composition roofing, metal, or tile. One-third of the homes have unenclosed porches, decks, or balconies that create drafts and provide areas where sparks and embers can be trapped, smolder, ignite, and rapidly spread fire to the house.
Eighty-six percent of the homes in the interface do not meet the minimum recommended defensible space requirement to help protect the home from damage or loss during a wildfire.
Lamoille is protected by an eight member volunteer fire department. Table 12-1 lists the local resources and equipment available to Lamoille in the event of a wildland fire. Additional resources are available from local, state, and federal agencies through mutual aid agreements as described in Section 4.1.1.
|Type of Equipment||Amount of Equipment||Cooperating Partner
Type 2 Engine
Type 6 Engine
|Type 2 Engine
Type 6 Engine
(Stations #1 and #2)
|Type 3 Helicopter
Air Attack Platform
|Bureau of Land Management
|Type 4 Engine||1||Bureau of Land Management
|Source: Sam Hicks, Nevada Division of Forestry Elko County Prevention Captain; Jess Sustacha, Jr., Lamoille VFD Fire Chief.|
There is a very limited supply of water for fire suppression in Lamoille. There are community hydrants that are gravity operated from one 2,000-gallon storage tank. Additional water may be available from private agricultural wells in the area.
Lamoille VFD firefighters have been trained in-house for structure protection and have received training from the Nevada Division of Forestry and cooperating agencies to meet the minimum National Wildfire Coordinating Group basic wildland standards.
The Lamoille VFD responded to 33 calls in 2003:
Two main fuel types are found within and in close proximity to the Lamoille community. Irrigated haylands are found throughout most of the central part of the community, and native upland vegetation is located on the benches and alluvial fans surrounding the community. Irrigated haylands are usually harvested annually and were considered a low fuel hazard. Fuel loading in the upland area varies from one to two tons per acre in the northern portion of the community, to five to six tons per acre in the southeastern area. The fuel hazard in the upland areas varies from moderate to extreme depending on fuel density and slope. Fuels in the southeastern portion of the community consist of sagebrush, bitterbrush, rabbitbrush, and spiny hopsage four to eight feet tall and densely spaced. In the understory thee is basin wildrye, crested wheatgrass, and cheatgrass, two to four feet tall. Cheatgrass growth is dependent on annual moisture and will produce increased fuel volumes and in years of higher than average precipitation. The fuels along the north and west sides of the community consist of sagebrush and rabbitbrush two to three feet tall with cheatgrass and basin wildrye in the understory. The fuels are continuous and in close proximity to structures. The terrain within the community boundary is gently rolling. The primary aspects are to the west and the prevailing wind direction is from the west and southwest. [Figures 12-2 and 12-3 detail fuel hazard mapping and fuel hazard photos.]
Most of the Lamoille community is at a low risk of a serious wildland fire due to the presence of irrigated pasture and haylands throughout the community. The exception to this condition is the developed areas along Dysart Drive. The homes in this area are surrounded by high density, six to seven foot tall, sagebrush and bitterbrush. The worst-case scenario for a wildfire would be a fire starting west of the Dysart Drive development on a high hazard summer afternoon with west winds in excess of twenty miles per hour. A fire starting during these or similar conditions could quickly threaten homes and lives. Residents need to pre-plan for evacuation or be trained to shelter-in-place.
Lamoille has a high risk of ignition based on fire history in the area and the potential for increased fuel loading from annual grasses in high precipitation years. The primary risk of ignition in Lamoille is lightning, although human caused ignitions are unpredictable and can occur at any time.
The responsibility to keep a community fire safe falls not only on the local fire protection district but also on the residents of the community, businesses, and local governments. The recommendations for the Lamoille area focus primarily on the ongoing and additional efforts to create and maintain defensible space and on future requirements that new developments will be planned and constructed to create fire safe communities. The main area of concern in Lamoille is the Dysart Drive area. Other recommendations pertain to community coordination and public education efforts that could be undertaken to enhance fire safety.
Defensible space treatments are an essential first line of defense for residential structures. The goal of the treatments is to significantly reduce or remove flammable vegetation within a prescribed distance from structures. (Refer to Appendix E for the minimum recommended defensible space area). Defensible space reduces the fire intensity and improves firefighter and homeowner chances for successfully defending a structure against an oncoming wildfire.
Fuel reduction treatments are applied on a larger scale than defensible space treatments. Permanently changing the fuel characteristics over large blocks of land to one of a lower volume and one of altered distribution reduces the risk of a catastrophic wildfire in the treated area. Reducing vegetation along roadways and driveways could reduce the likelihood of blocking access and escape routes, help contain the fire perimeter, and improve firefighter access and safety for protecting homes.
Nevada Fire Safe Council
210 South Roop Street Suite 101
Carson City, NV 89701
A public education program that explains fire safe measures in clear and emphatic terms will have an impact on residents of the wildland-urban interface. Informed community members will be more inclined to make efforts to effectively reduce wildfire hazards around their homes and neighborhoods.
|Involved Party||Recommended Treatment||Recommendation Description|
|Defensible Space||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes according to the guidelines in Appendix E.
Maintain defensible space annually.
|Community Coordination||Ensure addresses are easily visible from the road.
Form a local community-based organization to provide leadership and be responsible for community-wide fuels reduction and community fire safety.
|Utility Company||Fuels Reduction||Reduce and remove vegetation to maintain clearance around power lines. Clear vegetation within fifteen feet of utility poles near the community.|
|Lamoille VFD and Nevada Division of Forestry||Fire Suppression Resources||Encourage volunteer firefighters to attend wildfire training to achieve minimum National Wildfire Coordinating Group basic wildland standards.
Continue to provide wildland firefighting training for all volunteers.
Pursue grant funding to create drafting ponds and install a minimum capacity 10,000-gallon underground water tank.
Upgrade radios with narrow band technology for compatibility with the new 2005 system.
Coordinate with the Lamoille Water District Board to apply for grants to upgrade the existing limited firefighting water system to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards.
Continue to meet annually with the cooperating agencies to discuss pre-attack plans for the community.
|Community Coordination||Work with local residents to develop and enforce brush clearance and biomass disposal programs.
Coordinate with the appropriate agencies to improve street sign visibility.
Develop an evacuation plan for the Dysart Drive area that identifies routes of travel, shelter in place areas, and individuals with needs for special assistance such as non-ambulatory residents.
|Public Education||Distribute copies of the publication “Living With Fire” to all property owners.|
|Elko County||Fuels Reduction||Reduce vegetation and maintain roads by mowing all vegetation to a height of no more than four inches for a distance of twenty feet from the edge of the road on both sides of the road. Remove and dispose of biomass at an appropriate site.|
|Community Coordination||Promote cooperation between the Assessor’s Office and the Roads Department to ensure that all new development roads are named, mapped, signed, and identified with GPS locations.
Continue to require all future development in the County to meet the National Fire Codes with regard to community design, building construction and spacing, road construction and design, water supply and emergency access.
Lamoille Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary
Lamoille Fire History and Suppression Resources
Lamoille Classification of Fuel Hazard
Photo Point 1. 4508932N, 0632364E, 080°NE. Vegetation on the south end of the community along Dysart Drive includes basin wildrye, crested wheatgrass, bluegrass, needle grass, and cheatgrass. The shrub layer poses an extreme fuel hazard. It is four to eight feet high with dense spacing and is composed of sagebrush, bitterbrush, broom snakeweed, and rabbitbrush.