Resource Concepts, Inc.
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Elburz is located approximately twenty miles east of Elko along Interstate 80 at an elevation of approximately 5,210 feet. The community hazard assessment resulted in classifying Elburz in the Moderate Hazard category (52 points). A summary of the factors that contribute to this hazard rating is included in Table 23-3. The moderate rating is primarily attributed to inadequate street and address signage, lack of fire protection resources, and scant water availability. The community boundary identified for this report is shown in Figure 23-1.
The wildland-urban interface surrounding Elburz is an intermix condition: structures and wildland fuels are scattered throughout the community, with no clear line of demarcation separating structures and wildland fuels. Forty homes were included in this assessment. Thirty-eight of those homes are on parcels of one to ten acres in size; the remaining homes are on lots of one acre or less.
Ninety 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. All of the homes have fire resistant roofing of composition materials, metal, or tile. A third of the homes have unenclosed porches, decks, or balconies that create drafts and provide areas where sparks and embers can lodge, smolder, ignite, and rapidly spread fire to the house.
Eighty-five percent of the homes observed met the minimum defensible space requirement recommended to help protect the home from damage or loss during a wildfire.
Fire protection for Elburz is provided by the Ryndon Volunteer Fire Department, which is located six miles west of the community. Table 23-1 lists the types of local wildfire resources and equipment available for initial response to Elburz in the event of a reported wildfire. 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 3 Engine
Type 6 Engine
|Type 4 Engine||1||Bureau of Land Management
|Type 3 Engine
Type 1 Water Tender
|Nevada Division of Forestry
|Type 2 Engine||1||Lee Engine Company
|Source: Sam Hicks, Nevada Division of Forestry Elko County Prevention Captain; Bill Krohn, Ryndon VFD Chief|
There are water resources designated for fire suppression in Elburz. While there are some private wells in the area, reliable water sources are generally farther than 45 minutes away, round trip. Though the Humboldt River is nearby, the flow can be very low in this reach of the river during the summer months.
The vegetative fuel density in the Elburz interface area is generally light, estimated at one to two tons per acre and considered a moderate fuel hazard. Fuels in the community and interface area consist primarily of big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, greasewood, cheatgrass, squirreltail, and basin wildrye. Cheatgrass growth is dependent on annual moisture and will produce increased fuel volumes and elevated fuel hazard conditions in years of higher than average precipitation. The terrain within the community boundary is mostly flat. The prevailing wind direction is from the south and southwest. There is a history of afternoon summer thunderstorms and dry lightning strikes in the area.
The worst-case scenario for a wildfire in the area surrounding Elburz would start south of Elburz and north of I-80 with strong winds, greater than twenty miles per hour, from the south/southwest. Mobile homes in the area could be quickly threatened before suppression resources could arrive.
Elburz has a moderate risk of ignition based on fire history in the area and the potential for increased fuel loading from annual grasses in high precipitation years. There is a history of lightning strikes around the community. The primary risks of ignition in Elburz are lightning, auto accidents on I-80 that could spark nearby vegetation, railroad sparks, and other human caused ignitions that 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 and local governments. The recommendations for the Elburz area focus primarily on the ongoing and on additional efforts to create and maintain defensible space and on the 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 the defensible space as needed.
|Community Coordination||Coordinate through the ROWE Group to form a local community-based organization to provide leadership and be responsible for community-wide fuel reduction treatments and community fire safety.|
Nevada Department of Transportation
|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.|
|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. Remove all trees from beneath power lines.|
|Union Pacific Railroad||Fuels Reduction||Mow or reduce vegetation within a minimum distance of twenty feet on both sides of the railroad tracks.|
|Elko County||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. Refer to Appendix F for an example of fire safe recommendations for planning new developments.
|Nevada Division of Forestry||Community Coordination||Develop and enforce a brush clearance and biomass disposal program to include cleaning weeds and debris from around structures and fences in the community.|
|Fire Suppression Resources||Install a minimum capacity 10,000-gallon water tank in the community for fire suppression.|
|Public Education||Obtain copies of the publication “Living With Fire”. This publication is free of charge.|
Elburz Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary
Elburz Fire History