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Dayton is a rapidly growing community located in northwest Lyon County in an area called the Carson Plains, or better known as Dayton Valley (see Figure 5-1). The valley is bound to the north by the Virginia Range and bound to the south by the Pine Nut Range. The estimated population in Dayton as of 2000 was 5,907 (US Census Bureau, 2000), but it has risen significantly since that time. The Carson River dissects the town into northeast and southwest sectors. A total of 1,219 residences were evaluated during the risk assessment. The risk/hazard assessment resulted in classifying Dayton in the Moderate Hazard category (44 points). The moderate community hazard rating is attributed primarily to the number of homes with unenclosed architectural features, the number of homes with flammable roofing materials, and the fuel loads and potential fire behavior in the area. The community wildfire hazard score sheet is provided at the end of this section. The specific findings for each of the wildland fire assessment parameters are reported below.
The urban interface condition in Dayton can be described as both intermix and classic interface. In many areas subdivisions border wildland fuels with a clear line of demarcation between the fuels and the residences. However, where homes have been built on larger lots wildland fuels are often contiguous up to each residence. Lot sizes vary throughout Dayton with the majority of lots less than one acre and a smaller number of lots between one and ten acres. Lots sizes are large on the remaining farm/ranch lands along the Carson River. Structure spacing varies according to lot size.
Roads: The primary access route in Dayton is US Highway 50, which is a paved highway greater than 24 feet wide. The primary access road for residences on the southeast side of the Carson River is Dayton Valley Road. This road is also paved and greater than 24 feet wide, allowing adequate room for fire suppression equipment to maneuver. Approximately three-fourths of the secondary roads in the community are paved.
Signage: Most streets in Dayton have standard metal street signs that are highly visible and easy to read. Residential addresses are easily visible on a majority of homes in Dayton. The clear and visible signage throughout Dayton will assist fire suppression personnel in locating residences under poor visibility conditions that may exist during a wildland fire.
Utilities: The utilities that serve Dayton are a combination of above ground and below ground power lines with scattered areas served by propane. In general, above ground power lines service the area northeast of Dayton Valley Road. Main power lines also run along US Highway 50 and River Road. Most homes over 15 to 20 years old are either served by propane or still have propane tanks on the property. In general, utilities and utility right-of-ways are adequately maintained and pose only a low ignition risk to the community.
A majority of the homes observed in the interface area were built with fire resistant siding materials. A great majority of the homes had fire resistant roof materials such as composition shingles, metal, or tile roofing. About one-third of the homes observed had unenclosed balconies, porches, decks or other architectural features that can create drafty areas where embers can be trapped, smolder, and ignite, rapidly spreading fire to the home.
The vast majority of the homes had landscaping that would meet the defensible space requirement to protect the home from damage, or minimize loss during a wildfire.
The Central Lyon County Fire Protection District provides wildfire protection. Three fire station locations within Dayton are shown in Figure 5-1. Refer to Section 4.2 for more information on equipment and resources that may be available.
Water availability for fire suppression in Dayton includes:
The community water system in Dayton operates on electric pumps with back-up generators to the fill the water tanks, and gravity flow to water hydrants.
The Dayton community is dissected by the Carson River. Vegetative fuels along the river corridor included willow, cottonwood, big sagebrush, and salt desert shrub species. The agricultural lands and the golf course on the east side of the river provide a buffer of protection for adjacent homes. On the southeast side of Dayton, the fuel type was characterized by big sagebrush, Mormon tea, and spiny hopsage. Ground fuels included bottlebrush squirreltail and cheatgrass. Average shrub height was approximately one to two feet with wide spacing between plants. The fuel load in this fuel type was estimated at less than one ton per acre; a low fuel hazard.
The fuel type along the valley bottom was characterized by sagebrush and salt desert shrub. Big sagebrush, Mormon tea, spiny hopsage, rabbitbrush, and black greasewood comprised the shrub layer, which ranged between two and three feet in height. Grasses included bottlebrush squirreltail and cheatgrass. The total fuel load was estimated to be two tons per acre and classified as a low to moderate fuel hazard.
The fuel type on sandy soils along the valley bottom was dominated by black greasewood, Indian ricegrass, and bottlebrush squirreltail. In the sandy areas, the spacing between shrubs was greater and shrub height was shorter, an average of one foot, which reduced the fuel load to less than one-half ton per acre.
The terrain around the Dayton area is mostly flat with less than ten percent slopes. The predominant wind direction in the summer is from the west or southwest with downslope winds possible off the Virginia Range.
The worst-case fire behavior scenario would likely occur on a high hazard day, during the summer months of a normal to above normal precipitation year. A human caused fire on the southeast side of Dayton near the intersection of Old Como Road and Dayton Valley Road could rapidly spread through the sagebrush fuel if driven by west or southwest winds. Flame lengths of a wind-driven fire in this fuel type could reach six to ten feet in length, helping the fire to spread at an estimated rate of 1,300 to 2,000 feet per hour. The proximity of fire suppression resources in Dayton and implementation of defensible space should reduce likelihood of the worst-case scenario fire occurring.
Dayton is considered to be at high risk for human caused fires due to the rapidly growing population in the area and increased activity on dirt roads surrounding the community. However, the potential for structure loss in the community is low due to proximity of fire suppression resources, low to moderate fuel hazards, and the presence of greenstrips (agricultural lands and the golf course) near some of the residences on the east side of the Carson River.
The responsibility to keep a community fire safe falls not only on the local fire protection district but also on the residents of the community, businesses, and local governments. The Dayton Risk/Hazard Reduction Recommendations focus primarily on additional efforts that can be taken by community members and public agencies to increase community safety through reduction of fuels that pose a hazard. Other recommendations pertain to community coordination and public education efforts that could be undertaken to enhance fire safety in Dayton. The recommendations are detailed below and summarized in Table 5-1.
The density and type of fuel around a home affects the potential fire exposure levels to the home. The goals of defensible space are to reduce the chances of a wildfire spreading onto adjacent property and igniting homes, and to reduce the risk of property loss from wildfire. General guidelines for creating defensible space around residences and structures in the community are given below and are described in detail in Appendix E.
Coordination among local, state, and federal fire suppression agencies is important in the day-to-day fire prevention activities and becomes critical in the event of a wildland fire. During a wildfire event, firefighters from other communities and states may be dispatched to protect areas they have never been before. This is particularly true in areas that have limited fire suppression resources and will most likely depend on outside assistance in the event of a catastrophic wildland fire. The following recommendations should be implemented in Dayton to enhance community and interagency coordination.
Nevada Fire Safe Council
1187 Charles Drive
Reno, Nevada 89509
Increased public education on fire safety is critical in communities that have rapidly growing populations, especially when many of the areas being developed are larger lots intermixed with wildland fuels. People moving into the area may be unfamiliar with fire-prone environments.
|Responsible Party||Recommended Treatment||Recommendation Description|
|Property Owners||Defensible Space Treatments||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes according to the guidelines in Appendix E.
Maintain defensible space as needed to keep the space lean, clean, and green.
Improve address visibility.
|Community Coordination||Form a local chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council|
|Central Lyon County Fire Protection District||Public Education||Distribute copies of the publication Living with Fire to all property owners.
Enforce or develop county laws and ordinances for defensible space and fuel reduction that include responsibilities for absentee owners and vacant lots.
Contact Nevada Cooperative Extension and the BLM for assistance with public education.
Fire History and Suppression Resources for the Community of Dayton
Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary