Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
Goose Creek is a small rural ranch community located in northeastern Elko County. The community boundary identified for this report is shown in Figure 42-1.
The rural ranch community type does not lend itself to the standard community assessment procedures. Community design, suppression resources, and fuel hazard conditions are described qualitatively for the rural ranch communities. Within this community type, the homes are often surrounded by landscaped yards, corrals, or agricultural pastures with no wildland vegetation in close proximity to structures. These common characteristics usually contribute to a low risk of damage or direct loss of homes due to wildfires. Hay and alfalfa fields, stockpiled bales, livestock, ranching and farming equipment, and fuel tanks are assets that require special planning for protection during a wildfire because of their considerable value to ranchers and farmers.
There are three ranches in the area that are situated at the bottom of creek drainages. All of the ranch structures are surrounded by irrigated agricultural fields and pastures. Defensible space is not a primary risk factor because the agricultural fields provide a buffer zone between residences and wildland fuels.
The closest wildfire protection resource available to Goose Creek is the Jackpot Volunteer Fire Department. Table 42-1 lists the types of local wildfire resources, cooperating partners, and equipment available for initial response to Goose Creek 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 2 Engine
Type 1 Engine
Type 6 Engine
|Type 4 Engine||1||Bureau of Land Management
|Source: Sam Hicks, Nevada Division of Forestry Elko County Prevention Captain; Verl Jarvie, Jackpot VFD Chief|
Water available for fire suppression resources in Goose Creek is limited to ponds at the ranches.
Elko County has an active Local Emergency Planning Committee and has adopted an emergency plan that includes a hazardous materials response plan and an all-risk disaster response plan, which is updated annually.
The vegetative fuel hazard in the Goose Creek interface area varies from low to high. Irrigated agricultural lands were considered low fuel hazards. The highest fuel hazard in the interface area was identified near Trout Creek, estimated at five to six tons per acre. Fuels in the community consist of juniper, ten to twelve feet tall, and big sagebrush and rabbitbrush, three to six feet tall. Ground fuels include cheatgrass, and perennial grasses. Cheatgrass growth is dependent on annual moisture and will produce increased fuel volumes and elevate fuel hazard conditions in years of higher than average precipitation.
The worst-case scenario for a wildfire in Goose Creek would start from a dry lightning storm on a summer day in a year with normal to above normal precipitation and high annual grass and forb production. Multiple fire ignitions, and strong erratic winds could push fires in any direction. A wildfire could exceed initial attack resources and spread rapidly before suppression resources could arrive Risks to residents in the area are somewhat mitigated by agricultural fields that provide a buffer zone between structures and wildland fuels.
Goose Creek has a high risk of ignition based on fire history in the area and a history of dry lightning from thunderstorms. However, hay storage areas without defensible space and in close proximity to wildland fuels pose a potential ignition risk.
The risk and hazard reduction recommendations for Goose Creek address the primary concern for maintaining defensible space and assuring water availability for fire suppression.
Despite the reduced risk of damage or loss to structural properties, Goose Creek has other unique conditions due to the remote location and relative isolation. Hay and alfalfa fields, stockpiled bales, livestock, ranching and farming equipment, and fuel tanks are assets that require special planning for protection against wildfire because of their considerable value to ranchers and farmers.
|Involved Party||Recommended Treatment||Recommendation Description|
|Defensible Space||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes, equipment, and hay storage areas according to the guidelines in Appendix E.
Maintain the defensible space as needed.
Create a fuelbreak of bare ground or gravel for 100 feet around stockpiled commodities such as hay or alfalfa.
Seed a mixture of fire resistant species around residential structures and ranch outbuildings.
|Fire Suppression Resources||Develop a system for backup power in the case of a large wildland fire.
Coordinate with the Nevada Division of Forestry to develop and adapt water sources for refilling fire apparatus.
|Nevada Cooperative Extension||Public Education||Develop a rural Nevada version of the “Living With Fire” publication tailored to the concerns of rural Nevada ranchers and farmers.|
Goose Creek Fire History