On Wednesday, Governor Brian Sandoval held his annual fire briefing at the state capitol. At this meeting, the governor learns from experts about what kind of outlook there is for the upcoming fire year.
Agencies like the Nevada Weather Service, Bureau of Land Management and Nevada Division of Forestry all agree that in order to conquer wildfires in the state, it's going to take a group effort.
"We won't have enough in the state of Nevada to fight the fires but that's why we have these compacts and agreements with other states,” said Fire Warden Kacey KC.
Governor Sandoval added, “We've got to work together, because one of them alone does not have the resources to fight a big fire."
As the data shows we might be in for another busy year. One graph presented at the briefing shows how the number of acres burned tends to be higher in a one to three year window following a wet winter.
"Now you've got the accumulated vegetation of the grasses from the previous year plus the new stuff from this year,” said Meteorologist Chris Smallcomb.
More flashy fuels isn't the only concern, as the weather service says a less than average snow pack also means dryer vegetation.
“Now the trees are starting off with a lot less moisture and then as they get into the hot parts of summer they'll dry out sooner,” said Smallcomb.
It's these dry spots fire officials want target shooters to be well aware of. Last year, people were the cause of more than half the fires in the state.
"A lot of those are preventable and so we're going to focus on fire prevention campaigns and educating the public, shooting responsibly and recreating responsibly,” said Paul Peterson, State Fire Management Officer with the BLM.
Even if officials can reduce the number of preventable fires, they can't stop what nature brings. Thankfully there are dozens of fire cameras spread throughout the state, with more along the way that can help personnel respond quickly.
"You cannot even measure the effect that has in terms of firefighting and early detection and deploying of resources,” said Governor Sandoval.
The weather service says the next four to six weeks will be a big indicator of how quickly fire season is upon us. If it's hot and dry, we could begin to see wildfires sooner rather than later.
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