Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
Kingston is located in the southernmost part of Lander County, in Kingston Canyon off of State Route 376. The risk assessment classified Kingston in the High Hazard Category (64 points). A summary of factors that contributed to this hazard rating is included in Table 13-3. The score was primarily attributed to inadequate defensible space, a high number of unenclosed architectural features, fire behavior factors, and the isolated location of the community.
The urban interface surrounding Kingston is characterized as an intermix condition. Structures are scattered throughout the wildland area with no clear line of demarcation between the community and wildland. There were 127 homes observed during the assessment, all on parcels of approximately one to ten acres.
Ninety-eight percent of the homes were constructed of non-combustible or highly ignition resistant siding material such as medium density fiberboard. Ninety-five percent of the homes had non-combustible roofing material such as composition, metal, or tile.
Seventy-seven percent of the homes assessed in Kingston did not have adequate defensible space to protect the home from damage or loss in the event of a wildfire.
At the time that interviews were conducted for this report, the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department was staffed by twelve volunteers. Table 13-1 lists the types of wildfire resources, cooperating partners and equipment potentially available to Kingston to respond to a reported wildland fire. Initial response time by volunteers may vary based on the day of the week and time of day. Some volunteers may be unable to respond immediately to fire calls during typical workday hours. It is also important to note that the actual number and type of suppression resources available to respond from neighboring fire departments and agencies is dependent upon the resources on hand at the time of the wildland fire call.
|Type of Equipment||Amount of Equipment||Cooperating Partner
|Type I Engine
Type 3 Engine
|Kingston Volunteer Fire Department
|Type 3 Engine
|US Forest Service / BLM Interagency
|Type 3 Engine
Type 4 Engine
|BLM Battle Mountain Field Office
|Hand Crew (Type 2-Trained)||3||Nevada Division of Forestry Conservation Camp
|Source: Personal communication with Roger James and Shannon Thiss, Kingston VFD; Chad Lewis, Donovan Walker, and Dave Davis, BLM Battle Mountain Field Office; Mike Pattison, Interagency FMO Austin; Kacey KC, NDF State Office; Butch Hayes, BLM Nevada State Office.|
Water sources for fire suppression in Kingston are provided by:
The water system is operated by gravity.
In Kingston fires are reported through 911 calls to the Lander County Sheriff’s Office. Fires are communicated to local volunteer fire departments by the Lander County Sheriff’s Office using radios and pagers. Fires are communicated to federal agency fire personnel by the Central Nevada Interagency Dispatch Center. Nevada Division of Forestry fire crews are dispatched from the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center or the Elko Interagency Dispatch Center.
The Kingston VFD firefighters have no formal firefighter training. Federal agency fire suppression personnel receive training to meet National Wildfire Coordinating Group standards.
The Kingston VFD responded to five emergency calls in 2003. Two were wildland fire calls. They do not respond to medical calls.
The Kingston VFD receives funding from the Town General Fund.
Kingston has a pre-attack plan for response to fires. The plan is managed by the Volunteer Fire Department and is updated annually. The volunteer fire department does not review development plans for fire safety issues.
Kingston is located in lower Kingston Canyon on south facing slopes, and extends along alluvial fans into Big Smoky Valley. Prevailing winds are from the west/southwest. The terrain varies from flat (less than five percent slope) east of Kingston, to very steep terrain higher up the canyon. In steeper canyon areas, pinyon-juniper and associated fuels were estimated at ten to fifteen tons per acre and were considered an extreme fuel hazard. Lower in the canyon the fuel load was estimated at six to eight tons per acre, a high fuel hazard. The lower flats in Big Smoky Valley consist primarily of salt desert shrub vegetation such as shadscale, bottlebrush, squirreltail, and budsage. These fuels were estimated at less than one ton per acre, and considered a low fuel hazard. Within the community, black sagebrush is the predominant shrub with greasewood, ephedra, shadscale and budsage. The riparian corridor along Kingston Creek has a thick accumulation of dead and diseased willow. Fuel hazard mapping and photo points for Kingston are shown in Figure 13-2 and Figure 13-3.
The worst-case scenario for Kingston would be a wildland fire ignition that begins west of the community. Southwest or west winds would drive the fire through the canyon, funneled by drainages that would create a chimney effect and draw the fire through the community. Steep slopes would hinder fire suppression equipment. The Kingston Volunteer Fire Department has no formal wildfire training. This factor, in addition to the potential for delayed response from volunteer personnel, and the travel distance of additional resources, could mean a fire would exceed initial response capabilities.
There is an ignition history in and around Kingston Canyon, however no existing wildfire polygons are recorded in the fire history database.Kingston has a high potential for fire ignition and structure loss. The primary ignition risk in Kingston is lightning, although human caused ignitions can occur at any time.
In August of 2003, the Bureau of Land Management Battle Mountain Field Office completed an Environmental Assessment for the Wildland Urban Interface/Fire Defense Systems Austin and Kingston, Nevada. Approximately 2,900 acres in the vicinity of the community of Kingston are scheduled for treatment with high intensity, low-frequency (HILF) livestock grazing. Livestock grazing will be permitted to reduce fuels within a fenced pasture (completed in 2003) in the treatment area shown in Figure 13-4. The BLM Battle Mountain Field Office will seek an agreement with the current grazing permittee to complete grazing treatments using temporary, non-renewable permits, with the necessity for grazing treatments to be determined on an annual basis.
The recommendations to reduce fire hazards for the Kingston community focus on creating good defensible space, developing water sources for fire suppression, and fuelbreaks and fuel reduction treatments.
Vegetation density, type of fuel, and slope gradient around a home affect the potential fire exposure levels to the home. The goals of defensible space are to reduce the risk of property loss from wildfire by eliminating flammable vegetation near the home; thereby, lowering the potential to burn and providing firefighters a safer working area to defend the home or outbuilding during a wildland fire. Guidelines for improving defensible space around residences and structures in the community are given below and are described in detail in Appendix E.
Fuels reduction treatments such as fuelbreaks are applied on a larger scale than defensible space treatments, typically along roads, along power line corridors, or on the outer boundaries of a community to reduce the potential for hazardous fire behavior and provide fire suppression resources a better opportunity for protecting a community. Permanently changing the fuel characteristics over large blocks of land to a lower volume and altered distribution reduces the risk of a catastrophic wildfire in the treated area.
Nevada Fire Safe Council
1187 Charles Drive
Reno, Nevada 89509
|Involved Party||Recommended Treatment||Recommendation Description|
|Property Owners||Defensible Space Treatments||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes according to the defensible space guidelines in Appendix E.|
|Community Coordination||Coordinate with the community of Gilman Springs to form a local chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council.
Become knowledgeable of community evacuation plans and procedures.
|Lander County Road Department||Fuel Reduction Treatment||Mow a 25-feet wide swath on both sides of all community roads to reduce vegetation to a height of 4 inches. Thin trees for an additional distance of 25 feet.|
|Kingston Volunteer Fire Department||Defensible Space||Establish and maintain defensible space around the fire department.|
|Community Coordination and Public Education||Distribute copies of the publication “Living With Fire” to all property owners.
Provide courtesy inspections of defensible space.
Coordinate with Lander County to prepare and distribute a community evacuation plan.
|Suppression Resources and Training||Pursue grants to obtain or upgrade wildland fire equipment including fire shelters, Pulaskis, McLeods, and personal protective equipment including hard hats, goggles, gloves, fire shelters with cases, and Nomex clothing.
Require all members to attend Wildland Firefighter Training and structural firefighter training annually.
Meet BLM and USFS to discuss the community pre-attack plan.
|Water District||Suppression Resources||Pursue grants to obtain an emergency generator.
Create a 300 feet wide firebreak around all water storage tanks.
|US Forest Service and Lander County||Fuel Reduction Treatments||Create and maintain a 300 feet wide fuel break along Black Hill Ridge road and following the ridgeline around to Toquima Road.
Create and maintain a 150 feet wide fuelbreak along Smoky Court.
Complete and implement pinyon-juniper thinning projects within a minimum distance of 0.5 miles of the community. Remove all dead and down trees, and dispose of biomass at an approved site. Limb remaining trees within 4 feet of the ground.
Kingston Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary
Kingston Fire History, Suppression Resources, and Proposed Mitigation Projects
Kingston Fuel Hazard Classification
Photo Point 1. 4339448N, 491262E, 180°S. Pinyon-juniper fuel loading in Kingston Canyon is estimated at ten to fifteen tons per acre. Dense pinyon-juniper stands around structures with no defensible space creates an extreme hazard.
Photo Point 2. 4339401N, 493695E, 130°SE. Black sagebrush on flat terrain southeast of Kingston is a low fuel hazard estimated at one to two tons per acre.
Kingston BLM Planned Fuel Reduction Projects