RCI ReportsPershing County Fire Plan

Executive Summary

Ten communities within Pershing County were identified to be included in this assessment. The RCI field teams met with elected officials, fire personnel, and other individuals in Pershing County to compile the information included in this report. The field teams spent four days in Pershing County visiting the identified communities and completing the verification portion of the risk assessment. This report describes in detail the factors considered and reviewed during the assessment of these communities. The following table identifies the communities and the risk and hazard assessment results for each community.

Table 1-1. Community Risk and Hazard Assessment Results
Community Ignition Risk Fire Hazard Rating
Grass Valley High Moderate
Humboldt Low High
Imlay Low Moderate
Lovelock Low Moderate
Mill City High Moderate
Nightingale* N/A N/A
Oreana Low Moderate
Rochester* N/A N/A
Rye Patch High Moderate
Unionville High Extreme
*Nightingale and Rochester were not rated. These communities were identified in the Federal Register as communities at risk. However, there are no residences in either of the communities. Because there are no permanent communities in Nightingale or Rochester, the risk/hazard assessments were not completed for these communities.

Six of the communities assessed in Pershing County lie within the Interstate 80 corridor. Four communities, Grass Valley, Nightingale, Rochester, and Unionville, are not along Interstate 80 and two of those, Nightingale and Rochester, no longer have any permanent residences.

There are no paid fire departments in Pershing County and only four communities, Grass Valley, Lovelock, Rye Patch and Imlay, have volunteer fire departments. The rest of the communities rely primarily on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) based in Winnemucca for their wildland fire suppression needs.

Grass Valley and Lovelock are buffered to some extent from the threat of wildland fires entering the communities by adjacent agricultural lands. In all communities except Unionville, the surrounding vegetation in the wildland/urban interface area is typically salt desert shrub, a low ignition risk and low fuel hazard. There is a significant amount of cheatgrass in and around these communities in areas of old wildland fires. This fuel type burns easily and fast but typically can be stopped by good defensible space.

There have been recent efforts undertaken in Pershing County to reduce the risk of wildland fire: educational programs through the BLM; planting of greenstrips around the community of Mill City by the BLM; brush clearance programs and herbicide spraying of vegetation along road shoulders in Rye Patch; wildland firefighting training for volunteers and a family safety day in Grass Valley. It is evident that the communities in Pershing County understand the potential threat of wildland fire and are willing to take measures to protect their community.

To be most effective, fire safe practices need to be implemented on a community-wide basis. There is no guarantee that a wildfire will not occur in any of these communities, even if all of the recommendations in this report are implemented. Nonetheless, public awareness, neighbors helping neighbors, and concerned, proactive individuals setting examples for others to follow are just some of the approaches necessary to reduce the risk of wildfire ignition and the hazards inherent in wildland interface areas.