Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
The Lemmon Valley community is located north of Reno and north of US Highway 395 between Stead and Golden Valley. The community boundary is shown in Figure 16-1. The community hazard assessment resulted in classifying Lemmon Valley in the Moderate Hazard Category (41 points). A summary of factors that contributed to the hazard rating is included in Table 16-3. Primary factors that determined the hazard rating in Lemmon Valley included inadequate address signage and limited fire suppression resources.
The wildland-urban interface area in Lemmon Valley is characterized as an intermix condition. There is no clear line of demarcation between wildland fuels and the residential structures in the community. Most of the residences are located on lots between one and ten acres in size.
Most of the homes in the interface are built with non-combustible or ignition resistant siding such as medium density fiberboard, stucco, or brick. Ninety-seven percent of the homes have roofs of non-combustible material such as tile, metal, or composition. Approximately eighteen percent of the homes observed have unenclosed balconies, porches, decks, or other architectural features that can create drafty areas where sparks and embers can be trapped, smolder, ignite, and rapidly spread fire to the house.
Approximately 74 percent of the homes surveyed in the Golden Valley community have landscaping that meets defensible space guidelines to protect the home from damage or loss during a wildfire.
The Lemmon Valley Volunteer Fire Department provides the primary fire protection in the Lemmon Valley community as part of the Reno/Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District. The Lemmon Valley VFD reported having twelve volunteer members at the time that interviews were conducted for this report. Lemmon Valley VFD resources that are available to respond to a reported wildland fire are summarized in Table 16-1.
|Type of Resource||Amount of Equipment||Cooperating Partner
|Engine Type 1
Engine Type 3
Engine Type 4
|Lemmon Valley Volunteer Fire Department
(Reno/Truckee Meadows Station 23)
|Source: Roy Slate and Marty Scheuerman Reno FD|
Reno Fire Department responds with additional resources from the closest available career staffed station according to their standard wildland fire dispatch. Other local, state, and federal resources are available upon request through mutual agreements as described in Section 4.1.1.
Fires are reported in Washoe County through the 911 system, which connects the call with the Washoe County 911 Center. Washoe County 911 notifies the Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center of wildland fires. The Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center notifies the Volunteer Fire Departments, the Nevada Division of Forestry, the Bureau of Land Management, and the US Forest Service of fires through the use of pagers and radios.
Communication frequencies are currently compatible between agencies. When the federal agencies go to narrow band digital radios, the volunteers will no longer be able to communicate with the Bureau of Land Management and the US Forest Service.
Lemmon Valley has fire hydrants within 1,000 feet of structures with a minimum flow capacity of 1,000 gallons per minute in most areas of the community. Fire hydrants are gravity operated. The community water system has a total water storage capacity of over 1,000,000 gallons, supplied from wells. There is no emergency back up generator to pump the wells in the event of a power outage.
For areas without hydrants, the estimated round trip time to additional water supplies to refill fire apparatus is approximately twenty minutes.
Reno/Truckee Meadows volunteer and career firefighters are required to have at least forty hours of basic wildland training and they are required to attend eight hours of annual wildland refresher training.
Approximately half of the total volunteer firefighters are certified to respond to wildland fires. Reno Fire Department is in the process of providing additional training for career Captains and Chief Officers. They do not use the red card system. Many Reno Fire Department members are trained to a higher level and are certified through the red card system, but this is at the discretion of the individual.
The Lemmon Valley Volunteer Fire Department is funded through the Truckee Meadows general fund.
Lemmon Valley is included in the Washoe County All-Risk Emergency Plan.
The terrain throughout the wildland-urban interface area of Lemmon Valley is generally flat, with less than eight percent slopes. The prevailing wind direction is from the south and southwest with high winds common especially during summer afternoons.
The vegetative fuels in the Lemmon Valley community primarily consist of Wyoming big sagebrush and rabbitbrush with an understory of bottlebrush squirreltail, Indian ricegrass, and several perennial and annual weeds. The fuel load was estimated at two tons per acre and was considered a moderate fuel hazard.
The worst-case scenario would be a fire starting in the southeast end of the community on a high hazard day with strong winds, greater than twenty miles per hour, blowing from the south-southwest. This would push the fire north into many older homes. Brush and yard debris will carry the fire through the area quickly threatening many structures.
Lemmon Valley has a high ignition risk rating. There is a significant history of wildfire and fire ignitions within and surrounding the community. High ignition rates are attributed to the tendency for lightning storms during the summer and moderate to high vehicular traffic.
In June of 2003, as part of the North Valley Fuels Treatment Project, the Bureau of Land Management completed a fuel reduction project for the Lemmon Valley and Sun Valley communities. Fuelbreaks 100 feet wide were constructed using mechanical treatments to reduce juniper and shrub cover (USDI 2003). The treatment area in Lemmon Valley, shown in Figure 16-2, was approximately thirty acres.
In April 2005, the BLM Carson City Field Office completed a fuel reduction project on the north and west sides of the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony Hungry Valley community east of Lemmon Valley. An area 3.1 miles long and 150 feet wide was mechanically treated to reduce shrub and juniper density (M. McQueen 2005 pers. comm.). The project area covers approximately 56 acres and is illustrated in Figure 16-3.
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 recommendations for Lemmon Valley are focused on community clean-up and defensible space.
Defensible space treatments are an essential first line of defense for residential structures. The goal of the treatments is to significantly reduce or remove flammable vegetation within a prescribed distance from structures. (Refer to Appendix E for the recommended defensible space area). Defensible space reduces the fire intensity and improves firefighter and homeowner chances for successfully defending a structure against oncoming wildfire.
Fuel reduction treatments are applied on a larger scale than defensible space treatments. Permanently changing the fuel characteristics over large blocks of land to one of a lower volume and altered distribution reduces the risk of a catastrophic wildfire in the treated area. Reducing vegetation along roadways and driveways could reduce the likelihood of blocking access and escape routes, help contain the fire perimeter, and improve firefighter access and safety for protecting homes.
Nevada Fire Safe Council
1187 Charles Drive
Reno, Nevada 89509
A public education program that explains fire safe measures in clear and emphatic terms will have an impact on residents of the wildland-urban interface. Informed community members will be more inclined to make efforts to effectively reduce wildfire hazards around their homes and neighborhoods.
|Involved Party||Recommended Treatment||Recommendation Description|
|Defensible Space Treatments||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes according to the defensible space guidelines in Appendix E.|
|Community Coordination||Form a local chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council.
Ensure that residential addresses are visible from the road.
|Utility Company||Fuels Reduction||Remove trees and thin shrubs beneath power lines and utility poles. Maintain fifteen feet of clearance around utility poles.|
|Bureau of Land Management||Fuels Reduction||Retreat the 2003 and 2004 fuelbreaks in Lemmon and Hungry Valley as necessary to maintain fuel load reductions by thinning shrub and juniper density.|
|Washoe County||Community Coordination||Continue to require all future development in the County to meet the National Fire Codes with regard to community design, building construction and spacing, road construction and design, water supply, and emergency access.
Facilitate coordinated and collaborative efforts at the County and State levels for consistency in fire safe community planning and enforcement of fire safe ordinances in a unified manner.
|Lemmon Valley Volunteer Fire Department
Reno/Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District
|Defensible Space Treatments||Conduct courtesy inspections of defensible space conditions and defensible space treatments on private property.|
|Fuels Reduction||Remove vegetation within ten feet of fire hydrants.
Develop and promote regular brush clearance and biomass disposal, and continue to enforce the open burn permit programs.
|Public Education||Distribute copies of the publication “Living with Fire” to all property owners.|
Lemmon Valley Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary
Lemmon Valley Fire History, Suppression Resources, and Critical Features
Lemmon Valley/BLM Mitigation Projects
Hungry Valley BLM Mitigation Projects