Resource Concepts, Inc.
Celebrating 31 Years 1978-2009
Engineering • Surveying • Resources & Environmental Services
Strawberry is located in western White Pine County, south of Cold Creek along State Route 892 (see Figure 19-1). The community lies in Newark Valley with numerous ranches situated one or more miles apart.
Strawberry is a rural ranch community composed of nine widely spaced residences interspersed with large tracts of agricultural or public lands. The rural ranch community type does not lend itself to the standard community assessment procedures. Defensible space, suppression resources, and fuel hazard conditions are described qualitatively for the community.
All of the homes were constructed with non-flammable roofing materials such as composition, tile, or metal, and non-flammable or highly fire-resistant materials such as medium density fiberboard.
All of the homes surveyed in Strawberry had landscaping that meets the minimum standard as defensible space. Agricultural fields surround most of the homes.
Strawberry has no local fire protection resources. The Bureau of Land Management Ely Field Office and the Nevada Division of Forestry suppression resources that are available for Strawberry is included in section 4.1.1. Eureka and Diamond Valley Volunteer Fire Departments in neighboring Eureka County will respond to a wildland fire near Strawberry at the request of the BLM.
The terrain throughout the Newark Valley is generally flat, and winds are predominantly from the southwest. Wildland fuel loads located beyond the agricultural lands in Strawberry were estimated at two to three tons per acre. Vegetative fuels consist of big sagebrush, greasewood, and rabbitbrush, with an understory of basin wildrye, bottlebrush squirreltail, Indian ricegrass, Sandberg’s bluegrass, and cheatgrass. The sagebrush is generally one to two feet high, but in some instances reaches five feet. The fuel hazard was considered moderate on the lower slopes and valley bottoms with high hazard fuels located on the west side of the valley where slopes and vegetation density increase.
During the summer, thunderstorms produce dry lightning, which is a typical cause of wildfire ignitions in White Pine County. In years of higher than normal precipitation, cheatgrass production increases, leaving a dense fine fuel understory that will feed a wildfire ignition into the shrub layer. A dry lightning ignition on the west or south side of Strawberry would be driven by west/southwest winds through the wildland fuels. Any ranch improvements such as fences, and equipment and stockpiled commodities near wildland fuels, are at risk of damage or loss. There is a low potential for structure loss because agricultural buffer zones surround most of the homes.
Despite the reduced risk of damage or loss to structural properties, residences in Strawberry exhibit unique conditions because of their remote location and distance from any fire suppression resources. Hay and alfalfa fields, stockpiled bales, livestock, ranching and farming equipment, and fuel tanks are assets that require special protection because of their considerable value to ranchers and farmers. Not only can stockpiled hay combust or ignite easily, but smoke can make the hay unpalatable and unusable for livestock feed.
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. By permanently changing the fuel structure over large blocks of land to one of lower volume or reduced flammability (a fuel reduction treatment), the expected result in the event of a catastrophic wildfire would be one of reduced risk for uncontrolled spread through the treatment area. Reducing vegetation along roadways and driveways could reduce the likelihood of wildfire spreading across roads and improve firefighter access and safety for protecting homes.
Adequate training, equipment, and water drafting supplies are critical to all firefighters, whether they are first responders, volunteer fire department personnel, or agency personnel. These matters are also of special importance to all communities, especially those located in remote portions of the county. The following recommendations related to actions homeowners and the county can take to increase the quality of fire suppression response in the Strawberry community.
Many of the most effective activities aimed at reducing the threat of wildfire for the Strawberry community require 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 the entire community. 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, stockpiled hay, and equipment storage areas according to the guidelines in Appendix E.
Maintain defensible space as needed to keep the space lean, clean, and green.
|Fire Suppression Resources||Cooperate with the NDF to organize a group of volunteer firefighters and then obtain wildland and structure firefighting training.
Develop water drafting sources or identify agricultural wells available for fire suppression use.
|Nevada Division of Forestry||Community Coordination||Distribute copies of the current “Living With Fire” publication.
Workwith UNCE to develop a “Living With Fire” publication for rural ranch communities.
Meet annually with Strawberry ranchers and local property owners to discuss wildland fire pre-attack plans.
|Fire Suppression Resources||Identify and train a minimum of four people from Strawberry who would likely be able to provide the initial response to a nearby ignition.|
|Bureau of Land Management||Fire Suppression Resources||Meet annually with Strawberry ranchers and local property owners to discuss wildland fire pre-attack plans.|
|White Pine County||Fire Suppression Resources||Purchase and station a pick-up truck and a one-piece, slip-on, 100 to 200-gallon tank and pump unit with hose and hose reel.
Develop water drafting sources (one 10,000 to 15,000-gallon tank) or identify agricultural wells available for fire suppression use.
|Nevada Department of Transportation
White Pine County
|Fuel Reduction Treatment||Mow vegetation for a distance of 25-feet on each side of community roads and state routes.|
|Utility Company||Fuel Reduction Treatments||Remove trees and thin shrubs beneath power lines and utility poles. Maintain a minimum of fifteen feet of clearance around power line transformers.|
Strawberry Fire History