Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
Denio Junction is located in northern Humboldt County at the junction of State Routes 140 and 292, just south of the Nevada-Oregon border. Denio Junction is situated in a valley surrounded by steep slopes. The community is mostly on flat terrain with irrigated agricultural fields to the east and the south. Seven residences were observed during the assessment, which resulted in classifying Denio Junction in the Low Hazard category (30 points). Denio Junction was determined to have good defensible space, non-flammable building materials, and sparse fuels in the urban interface area. A summary of the factors that contributed to the community hazard rating is included in Table 6-2.
Denio Junction has a classic wildland-urban interface condition with a clear line of demarcation between wildland fuels and the residential structures in the community. Three of the lots assessed were on parcels of less than one acre; four parcels were between one and ten acres in size.
All of the homes in the interface were built with non-combustible or ignition resistant siding such as medium density fiberboard (MDF), and non-combustible tile, metal, or composition roofing materials.
None of the homes observed had unenclosed balconies, porches, decks or other architectural features that create drafty areas where firebrands and embers can accumulate, smolder and ignite, rapidly spreading fire to the home.
All of the homes assessed had the minimum recommended defensible space to help protect the home and minimize damage or loss during a wildfire.
The Denio Volunteer Fire Department, whose fire station is located three miles to the north, protects Denio Junction. At the time the interviews were conducted for this report, the Denio VFD consisted of eighteen volunteers. Table 5-1 lists wildfire suppression resources available for initial attack to a wildland fire call in Denio Junction. Firefighter qualifications and financial support for the Pueblo Fire Protection District are described in Section 5.1.4.
Bureau of Land Management wildfire suppression resources are available to all Humboldt County communities through cooperative agreements with local fire departments. The equipment listed in Table 4-2 represents resources assigned to the BLM Winnemucca Field Office that are available for dispatch within ten to fifteen minutes of notification of a wildfire. The closest available resources at the time of the dispatch would respond.
Water availability for fire suppression in Denio Junction includes:
The water system operates on gravity and electrical pumps. There is no backup emergency generator.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office notifies the Denio VFD and the Central Nevada Interagency Dispatch Center of wildfires reported by 911 calls. The Central Nevada Interagency Dispatch Center dispatches both Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service resources in Humboldt County.
The terrain around Denio Junction is mostly flat. The fuel hazard is low in areas that have previously burned and on irrigated agricultural lands. However, previously burned areas are dominated by cheatgrass, halogeton, and Russian thistle that can result in heavy fuel loads and an increased fire hazard in wet years. Unburned areas in the interface consist primarily of big sagebrush and rabbitbrush with an understory of fine fuels consisting of mustards, cheatgrass, halogeton, and Russian thistle. The fuel load in the burned areas was estimated at less than one ton per acre. The fuel load for the shrublands was estimated at four to five tons per acre.
The worst-case scenario for Denio Junction would be a dry lightning caused ignition west or southwest of the community that would be driven by high winds through moderately dense fuels into the community. The community relies on firefighting resources from three miles away in Denio, and BLM resources from much further away in Winnemucca. The scenario would be worse if mutual aid resources were dispatched to previous emergency incidents or because of limited volunteer response.
Denio Junction was determined to have a high potential for ignition. There is extensive wildfire history in the area surrounding the community and a high frequency of historic lightning strikes. The primary ignition risk in Denio Junction 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 department, but also on the residents of the community, businesses, and local governments. The Denio Junction risk and hazard reduction recommendations focus on annual maintenance of defensible space, fuel reduction, public education and fire suppression training and equipment for the Denio Volunteer Fire Department.
Permanently reducing the fuel structure over large, continuous blocks of land to a lower volume reduces the risk of a catastrophic wildfire and increases firefighter safety.
Adequate training and equipment are critical to volunteer fire departments, especially those located in remote geographic regions of Humboldt County such as Denio Junction.
Many of the most effective activities aimed at reducing the threat of wildfire for the Denio Junction community require that individual property owners coordinate with each other and with local fire authorities. Public education and awareness, neighbors helping neighbors, and proactive individuals setting examples for others to follow are just some of the approaches that will be necessary to meet the fire safe goals in the community.
Nevada Fire Safe Council
1187 Charles Drive
Reno, Nevada 89509
|Property Owners||Defensible Space||Continue to maintain adequate defensible space as described in Appendix E.|
|Community Coordination and Education||Coordinate with the community of Denio to form a local chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council.|
|Humboldt County||Defensible Space||Revise codes and ordinances to require and enforce defensible space treatments on all lots in the interface area.
Require provisions for fuel reduction treatment implementation and maintenance as a condition of new subdivision approval in the interface areas.
|Bureau of Land Management
|Fuels Reduction||Continue to mow or remove vegetation within 20 feet of both sides of roads.|
|Bureau of Land Management||Fuels Reduction||Permit livestock grazing prior to seed maturity to reduce cheatgrass. Balance annual stocking rates with annual cheatgrass grass productivity.|
|Bureau of Land Management
Nevada Division of Forestry
|Training and Equipment||Assist Pueblo Fire Protection District and Denio VFD with administration of the Red Card System.
Provide wildland firefighting training to meet the minimum standards for Red Card qualifications.
|Denio VFD||Community Coordination and Education||Distribute copies of “Living With Fire” to property owners.
Contact the BLM Winnemucca Field Office and University of Nevada Cooperative Extension for assistance with public education.
|Nevada State Fire Marshal||Training and Equipment||Provide structure firefighting training to all volunteer fire fighters to meet minimum State standards.|
Denio Junction Fire History
Denio Junction Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary