Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
The community of Mogul is located near the western boundary of Washoe County, east of Verdi, north of Interstate 80, and at the south end of Peavine Peak. The community boundary is shown in Figure 17-1. The community hazard assessment resulted in classifying Mogul in the Moderate Hazard Category (54 points). A summary of factors that contributed to the hazard rating is included in Table 17-3. Primary factors that determined the hazard rating in Mogul included the potential fire behavior related to topography and vegetative fuels, and limited fire suppression resources.
The wildland-urban interface area in Mogul is characterized as the classic interface condition. There is a clear line of demarcation between wildland fuels and the residential structures in the community. Most of the residences are located on lots less than one acre 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. Almost all of the homes have roofs of non-combustible material such as tile, metal, or composition. Approximately twenty 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 99 percent of the homes surveyed in Mogul have landscaping that meets defensible space guidelines to protect the home from damage or loss during a wildfire.
Nevada Division of Forestry provides fire protection for Mogul from Station 5 in Verdi. The NDF Verdi Station has 24-hour coverage and is staffed by four career firefighters daily and three additional seasonal firefighters during fire season. Fire suppression coverage is also provided from the Verdi Volunteer Fire Department, which reported having 22 volunteers at the time that interviews were conducted for this project. The closest resources available to respond to a reported wildland fire near Mogul are summarized in Table 17-1.
|Type of Resource||Amount of Equipment||Cooperating Partner
|Engine Type 3
Water Tender Type 1
|Nevada Division of Forestry
(Station 5 - Verdi)
|Engine Type 3
Engine Type 4
Water Tender Type 1
|Verdi Volunteer Fire Department
(Station 51 - Verdi)
|Source: Brent Harper, Chief Verdi VFD, Joe Reinhardt ,BC, Nevada Division of Forestry; Marty Scheuerman DC, Reno Fire Department; Roy Slate Volunteer Coordinator Reno Fire Department.|
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. Verdi VFD has the Reno Fire Department 800 meg radios in some of their engines. 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 US Forest Service.
All volunteer firefighters are trained to the State Fire Marshal’s Entry Level Firefighter and Firefighter I standards. Wildland firefighting training is provided by Nevada Division of Forestry and meets the NWCG 310-1 standards.
The Verdi Volunteer Fire Department responded to 114 calls in 2003, twenty of which were wildland/brush calls and seventy were emergency medical calls.
The financial support for the Verdi Volunteer Fire Department is provided through a contract with Sierra County, California and the Nevada Division of Forestry pay-per-call program in which the Nevada Division Forestry bills for the emergency services as they are provided as part of the Sierra Fire Protection District. NRS 473 fire districts are funded for day-to-day operations from property taxes raised within the fire district for equipment, capital improvement projects, and maintenance. For fires within an NDF Fire Protection District, the state bears the financial responsibility for all costs resulting from actions taken by NDF in suppressing fires and in minimizing damages to exposed life, property, and natural resources.
Washoe County maintains an Emergency Plan for Hazardous Materials and an All-Risk Disaster Plan through the Washoe County Local Emergency Planning Committee. The Verdi VFD does not do pre-attack planning for fires.
The terrain in the community and surrounding homes in Mogul is variable and ranges from flat to foothills with slopes eight to twenty percent. The dominant aspect in the community is south. The prevailing wind directions are from the west and southwest. Downslope and cross slope winds are common especially during summer afternoons. Topographic features including narrow canyons and mountain slopes adjacent to the community could result in unpredictable fire behavior.
The vegetative fuel hazard in Mogul is moderate with fuel loads estimated between three and four tons per acre. The dominant species consist of big sagebrush, rabbitbrush, and bitterbrush, with cheatgrass and bottlebrush squirreltail in the understory. Vegetation concentrations are greater near the drainages and open space areas within the community.
The worst-case scenario for this community would be a dry lightning storm late on a summer afternoon, during a year with above normal precipitation and abundant cheatgrass production. Strong erratic winds, greater than twenty miles per hour, in addition to predominant west to southwest winds could push fires into the community from the west and north. Drainages with dense brush below structures have an increased risk of hazardous fire behavior. Homes with inadequate defensible space could be quickly threatened.
There is a high fire ignition risk in Mogul due to a tendency for summer afternoon thunderstorms and high recreational use by the public of the area west and north of the community. The area has a history of multiple ignitions and large fires.
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 the Mogul area focus primarily on fuel reduction in drainages and along ditches and defensible space on private property.
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||Remove, reduce, and replace vegetation around homes according to the defensible space guidelines in Appendix E.|
|Fuels Reduction||Clear brush in drainage ditches and open spaces.|
|Community Coordination||Form a local chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council|
|Public Education||Participate in public education opportunities and become knowledgeable of emergency evacuation procedures.|
|Utility Company||Fuels Reduction||Remove trees and thin shrubs beneath power lines and utility poles. Maintain fifteen feet of clearance around utility poles.|
|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, water supply, and emergency access.
Develop and/or enforce county laws, regulations, and ordinances for defensible space and fuels reduction that include absentee homeowners, vacant lots, and new subdivisions.
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.
Construct a turn-around area for fire apparatus at the end of Mule Deer Drive.
|US Forest Service||Fuels Reduction||Reduce brush to a height not to exceed four inches in the northwest parcel within the community as shown in Figure 17-1. Revegetate with fire resistant species if necessary to control cheatgrass and noxious weeds as recommended in Appendix E.|
Nevada Department of Transportation
|Fuels Reduction||Reduce and remove vegetation in county road right-of-ways to maintain an average four-inch vegetation height. Reseed treated areas to minimize cheatgrass and noxious weed invasion where necessary.|
|Union Pacific Railroad||Fuels Reduction||Reduce and remove vegetation twenty feet on both sides of railroad tracks.|
|Verdi Volunteer Fire Department
Nevada Division of Forestry
|Resources and Training||Meet annually with the Reno/Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District and the Bureau of Land Management to discuss and update pre-attack plans for the community and test radio coverage and compatibility.|
|Public Education||Develop an emergency evacuation plan for Mogul area.
Distribute copies of the publication “Living with Fire” to all property owners.
Mogul Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary
Mogul Fire History, Suppression Resources, and Proposed Mitigation Treatments