Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
A key element of the Healthy Forests Initiative announced by the White House in 2002 is the implementation of core components of the National Fire Plan Collaborative Approach for Reducing Wildland Fire Risks to Communities and the Environment 10-Year Comprehensive Strategy. Federal agencies and western state governors adopted the Plan in the spring of 2002 in collaboration with county commissioners, state foresters, and tribal officials. The Plan calls for more active forest and rangeland management to reduce the threat of wildfire in the wildland-urban interface.
The Healthy Forest Restoration Act (H.R. 1904) was signed into law in December of 2003. The Act creates provisions for expanding the activities outlined in the National Fire Plan. In the same year the Nevada Fire Safe Council received National Fire Plan funding through the Bureau of Land Management to conduct a Community Risk/ Hazard Assessment in communities at risk across Nevada. The communities to be assessed are among those named in the 2001 Federal Register list of communities within the vicinity of federal lands (66 FR 160). The list identifies Nevada communities adjacent to Federal lands that are most vulnerable to wildfire threat in Nevada.
Resource Concepts, Inc. (RCI), a Carson City consulting firm, was selected to conduct the Community Risk/Hazard Assessments. During 2004, the RCI Project Team, consisting of specialists in the fields of fire behavior and suppression, natural resources and rangeland fuels, and field technicians, visited over 250 communities in seventeen Nevada counties to assess both the risk of ignition and the potential fire behavior hazard within the wildland-urban interface, places where homes and wildland meet. Procedures accepted by Nevada’s wildland fire agencies were used to reach consistent and objective evaluations in each community.
The specific goals of the Nevada Community Risk/Hazard Assessment Project are to:
The community risk/hazard assessments were conducted systematically. The RCI Project Team observed and recorded the factors that influence the risk of wildfire ignition along the wildland-urban interface, and they inventoried features that can have an influence on hazardous conditions in the event of a wildfire. Interviews with local fire agency and emergency response personnel were completed to assess the availability and capability of suppression resources and to identify opportunities for increased community preparedness. A description of the existing fuel hazard and fire behavior potential is discussed for each community. Photo points and fuel hazard maps are presented for Denio, Grass Valley, Quinn River, and Winnemucca where the fuel hazard in the interface area is high or extreme.
The results of the assessments are formatted to facilitate ease of reference and reproduction for individual communities. A glossary of wildland fire terms is included in Appendix A. Each community is mapped and ignition risks, fire hazards, and recommended mitigation projects are described for each community. The recommendations are presented on the community map if the proposed mitigation project can be graphically represented. These tools will aid local, state, and federal agencies in strategic planning, raising public awareness, and securing funding to implement risk and hazard reduction projects. Mitigating the risks and hazards identified by these assessments is not only crucial to the long term goals of the National Fire Plan, but also to the short and long term viability of Nevada communities, natural resources, infrastructures, and watersheds.
Numerous agencies and individuals were involved in the planning and implementation of this effort. Special thanks and acknowledgement are given to:
Eleven communities in proximity to federal lands within Humboldt County were identified in the Federal Register (66 FR 160) and are included in this assessment:
Humboldt County has several agricultural ranch communities including Denio Junction, Quinn River, and Paradise Valley that face a greater risk of economic loss from damage to agricultural commodities (e.g. livestock, hay, and crops) than risks to residential structures. General recommendations for rural ranch communities have been developed to address hazards that are unique to the private lands in remote settings.
There may be additional rural areas or small subdivisions within Humboldt County that were not included on the Federal Register list, and thus not included in the scope of this project. Conditions in and around some of these communities may warrant future individual hazard/risk assessment. However, many of the recommendations developed for similar communities in this report may apply to additional areas.
Summit Lake, located in the northwest part of Humboldt County, is Paiute tribal land. There is no residential community on the property and no one currently lives there. The risk/hazard assessment was not completed for Summit Lake because it is not a residential community.