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Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
The community of Lund is located in the White River Valley along State Route 318 in southern White Pine County (see Figure 12-1). The hazard assessment resulted in classifying Lund in the Moderate Hazard Category (44 points). A summary of factors that contributed to the hazard rating is included in Table 12-3. Primary factors that determined the hazard rating for Lund were inadequate defensible space, inadequate signage, and limited fire suppression resources.
The wildland-urban interface area around Lund can best be characterized as a classic interface condition. While structures abut wildland fuels, there is a clear line of demarcation between wildland fuels and residential structures. Of the 74 homes observed during the assessment, 44 were on lots of less than one acre in size and 30 were on lots of between one and ten acres.
Eighty-four percent of the homes in the interface were built with non-combustible or ignition resistant siding material such as medium density fiberboard. Ninety-seven percent of the homes had fire resistant roofing materials such as composition, tile, or metal. Twenty percent of the homes observed had unenclosed balconies, porches, decks, or other architectural features that can create drafty areas where sparks and embers can be trapped, smolder, ignite, and rapidly spreading fire to the house.
About seventy-five percent of the homes surveyed in Lund have landscaping that meets the minimum defensible space requirement to help protect the home from damage or loss during a wildfire.
The Lund Volunteer Fire Department provides fire protection to the Lund community. The VFD reported having eighteen members at the time that interviews were conducted for this report. The BLM Ely Field Office, the NDF Ely Conservation Camp, and the Great Basin National Park can provide additional resources as described in Section 4.1.1. Table 12-1 lists the types of wildfire resources and equipment available for initial response to a wildland fire near Lund.
|Type of Equipment||Amount of Equipment||Resource Location|
|Engine Type 3
Engine Type 6
Water Tender Type 3
Water Tender Type 1
|Lund Volunteer Fire Department|
|Source: Personal communication with Chief Laine Hendrix, Lund Volunteer Fire Department.|
Water availability for fire suppression in Lund includes:
The water system operates by gravity. Dry hydrants must be filled manually from fire engines or tenders.
Lund VFD firefighters receive training to meet the State Fire Marshal structure firefighting training standards and NDF Basic Wildland Firefighter training standards. The Lund VFD does not utilize the Red Card system for individual qualifications. Red Card certification is part of a fire qualifications management system used by many state and all federal wildland fire management agencies. This certification indicates that an individual is qualified to fight wildland fires.
The Lund Volunteer Fire Department responded to 47 calls in 2003: forty emergency medical calls, five wildland/brush fire calls, and two structure fire calls.
Funding for the Lund Volunteer Fire Department comes from the Lund Community Fund and the NDF White Pine County Fire Protection District authorized under NRS 473.
White Pine County has a Local Emergency Planning Committee that covers hazardous materials response. Lund is included in that plan. A pre-attack plan is developed by the Fire Protection District and updated annually. The Lund VFD reviews development plans for the community.
Lund is situated in a north-south oriented valley bottom with mostly flat terrain. The predominant wind direction is from the west/southwest in the late afternoon. The fuel hazard in the Lund interface area was considered low to moderate, with fuel loads estimated at one to two tons per acre. The west side of the community is generally agricultural lands. Wildland vegetation consists primarily of a greasewood, sagebrush, and rabbitbrush, with perennial grasses, cheatgrass, and halogeton. Russian thistle occurs in disturbed areas. Numerous vacant lots within the community have accumulations of shrubs and weeds that add to the fire hazard. If an ignition occurs in one of these lots, the fire could extend into the community due to the accumulation of vegetation.
The worst-case scenario for Lund would begin as a dry lightning strike during the summer of a high precipitation year with abundant cheatgrass growth. An ignition anywhere around the community could be driven by erratic winds in any direction, burning through fine fuels and shrubs. A fire could exceed first alarm resources, especially if there were multiple ignitions during normal working hours when volunteer response could be limited. Mutual aid resources more than an hour away.
Lund has a low ignition risk rating based on past fire and ignition history and fuel conditions. The primary ignition risk is lightning, although human caused ignitions can occur at any time.
The responsibility to keep a community fire safe falls not only on the local fire department but also on residents, businesses, and local governments. Lund risk and hazard reduction recommendations focus on improving defensible space and fuel reduction treatments throughout the community. Other recommendations pertain to community coordination efforts that could be initiated to enhance the fire safe nature of Lund.
Defensible space treatments are an essential first line of defense for residential structures. Significantly reducing or removing vegetation within a prescribed distance from structures (30 feet to 200 feet depending upon slope and vegetative fuel type) reduces fire intensity and improves firefighter and homeowner chances for successfully defending a structure against an oncoming wildfire.
Fuel reduction treatments are applied on a larger scale than defensible space treatments, typically along roads, railroads, vacant lots, power line corridors, or the outer boundaries of a community. Permanently lowering the amount of available fuel over a large block of land reduces the risk of a catastrophic wildfire in the treated area. Fuelbreaks can stop or slow the advance of a wildfire. They also give firefighters a place to stand against an oncoming fire.
Power line corridors and transformer sites should be kept clear of flammable vegetation, as fires have been known to start from arcing power lines during windy conditions. Fire damage to power lines often creates power failures that can be especially dangerous in communities without a backup energy source. Energized power lines can also fall during a wildfire creating additional hazards for citizens and firefighters.
Many of the most effective activities aimed at reducing the threat of wildfire for the Lund community requires that individual property owners coordinate with each other and with local fire authorities. Defensible space, for example, is more effective in small communities when applied uniformly throughout entire neighborhoods. Public education and awareness, neighbors helping neighbors, and proactive individuals setting examples for others to follow are just a few of the approaches that will be necessary to meet the fire safe goals in the community.
|Involved 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.
|Community Coordination||Post addresses so they are clearly visible.
Clean up overgrown shrubs and tumbleweeds that have accumulated vegetation in vacant lots, along ditches, and along town roads.
|Utility Company||Fuel Reduction Treatment||Reduce and remove vegetation around power lines and utility poles. Maintain a minimum of fifteen feet of clearance around power line transformers.|
|Lund Volunteer Fire Department||Community Coordination||Distribute copies of the publication “Living With Fire” to all property owners.|
|White Pine County||Fuel Reduction Treatment||Mow vegetation for a distance of 25-feet on each side of community roads.|
Lund Wildfire Hazard Rating Summary
Lund Fire History, Suppression Resources, and Critical Features