Fire restrictions still on in Carson Ranger District |

Fire restrictions still on in Carson Ranger District

Fire restrictions in the Carson Ranger District and surrounding public lands will stay in place until at least the first rain, officials said Wednesday.

Because the dry conditions persist despite a drop in temperatures, fire crews will also remain on call until the end of the season.

“We aren’t willing to take any chances,” said U.S. Forest Service Fire Management Officer Mike Dondero.

He said with the long drought this summer and low humidity, fires sparked mostly by lightning, but sometimes by errant campers, have resulted in an increase of 30 percent more burned acreage than the yearly average. And more fires could come.

In all, 128 fires have burned so far this season in the Carson Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Total burned acreage reached 10,400.

“We average about 6,000 acres a year,” Dondero said.

This year the Forest Service has been working with the Bureau of Land Management and the Nevada Division of Forestry on fire operations along the Eastern Sierras. When all the agencies agree that it is safe to allow campfires, they will make a joint announcement, Dondero said.

Fire restrictions in place this summer in central and northeast Nevada were lifted at the end of September. Now visitors camping in Austin, Tonopah, Santa Rosa, Jarbidge, Mountain City and Ruby Mountains will be allowed to have controlled fires.

But foresters continue to urge caution.

“While we’re glad that the weather has accommodated this fire restriction change, we want our visitors to remain vigilant to lessen fire danger,” said Deputy Supervisor Karen Shimamoto. She reminds visitors to make sure campfires are completely out and cold when they leave.

Additionally, proper handling of cigarettes, off-road vehicles, and firearms is stressed.

Fire restrictions in the Bridgeport Ranger District were lifted in early September and restrictions will remain intact in the Spring Mountain National Recreation Area until further notice.

In all districts of the Humboldt-Toiyabe forest, this fire season has netted 70 human-caused fires burning 9,288 acres, and 178 lightning-caused fires, burning 18,154 acres. Total acreage burned was 27,402.

According to year-to-date statistics kept by the National Interagency Fire Center, 645, 641 acres have burned so far this year in the western Great Basin, an area that includes most of Nevada and pieces of neighboring states.

Nationally, 6,901,103 acres have burned, nearly doubling the 10-year average of 3,647,597 acres. In 1999, Unite States wildland fires burned 2,329,709 acres.

A prohibition was put on fires on July 15 of this year, 10 days sooner than in 1999. On nearly 8.5 million acres, campfires and stove fires were limited to developed camp sites. Smoking was limited to enclosed vehicles, and explosives and fireworks were only allowed by special permits. Off-road vehicles had to be equipped with spark arrestors.

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