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 Ten 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 2003. The Act creates provisions for expanding activities outlined in the National Fire Plan. Also in 2003, 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 in Nevada. Communities to be assessed are included on a 2001 list in the Federal Register entitled “List of wildland-urban interface, at risk communities located 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.
Resource Concepts, Inc. (RCI), a Carson City consulting firm, was selected to conduct the Community Risk/Hazard Assessments. During 2004, the RCI Project Team visited over 250 communities in seventeen Nevada counties to assess both the risk of ignition and the potential fire behavior hazard. Procedures accepted by Nevada’s wildland fire agencies were employed to reach consistent and objective evaluations of each community. Specific goals of the Nevada Community Risk/Hazard Assessment Project are to:
Community Risk/Hazard Assessments were conducted systematically. The RCI Project Team observed and recorded factors that significantly influence the risk of wildfire ignition along the wildland-urban interface, and catalogued features that can have an influence on hazardous conditions in the event of a wildfire. Local fire agency and emergency response personnel were interviewed to assess the availability of suppression resources and to identify opportunities for increased community preparedness. A description of the existing fuel hazard and fire behavior potential is presented for each community. Photo points and fuel hazard maps are presented for each community where the community hazard is rated as high or extreme.
Individual community assessment results are formatted to facilitate ease of reference and reproduction. Assessments began with the preparation of a community map. Ignitions risks, fire hazards, and recommended mitigation projects are described for each community. Recommendations are summarized in a table and are depicted on a map (if the proposed 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 risks and hazards identified during the community assessment process are not only crucial to meeting long term goals of the National Fire Plan, but also to ensuring the near and long-term viability of communities, natural resources, infrastructures, and watersheds in Lander County.
Numerous agencies and individuals were involved in the planning and implementation of this effort. Special thanks and acknowledgement is given to the following:
Ten Lander County communities were identified in the Federal Register as being in proximity to Federal Lands. All ten communities are addressed in this assessment.
Several of the listed locations (Altamira Farms, Carico Valley, Grass Valley, and Smoky Valley) are agricultural communities. These communities face a greater risk of economic loss from damage to agricultural commodities (e.g. livestock, hay, other crops) than to residential structures. General recommendations for rural ranch communities have been developed to address hazards that are unique to private lands in remote areas.
Other rural areas or small subdivisions may be present in Lander County that were not included on the Federal Register list and, thus are not included in the present assessment. Recommendations presented in this report for similar communities may apply to those other areas. Conditions in and around some of those areas may warrant future risk/hazard assessment.
Tenabo, located in the northwest part of Lander County, was included on the Federal Register list. However, no residents currently live in that community; as a result, it was not included in this assessment.