Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest advises forest visitors to practice caution during critical fire weather conditions

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The Fernley Reporter

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest would like to remind surrounding communities to be aware of the increased chance of wildfire during critical fire weather conditions resulting from high winds and low humidity.

“It is important all forest users take steps to prevent wildfires,” said Russ Bird, Forest Fire Management Officer. “One less spark could mean one less wildfire.”

The National Weather Service (NWS) issues fire weather watches and red flag warnings to alert firefighting agencies and the public of the onset, or possible onset, of critical weather and dry conditions that could lead to rapid or dramatic increases in wildfire activity. For more information on fire weather, please visit the NWS website at http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge2/fire/ or http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/fire_wx/.

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“During heightened fire danger, U.S. Forest Service fire suppression resources are on high alert and additional firefighters and equipment are on duty to respond to any new fires,” added Bird.

A Red Flag Warning is issued for weather events which may result in extreme fire behavior that will occur within 24 hours. A Fire Weather Watch is issued when weather conditions could exist in the next 12-72 hours. A Red Flag Warning is the highest alert. During these times, extreme caution is urged by all Forest users because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire. A Fire Weather Watch is one level below a warning, but fire danger is still high.

“The type of weather patterns that can cause a watch or warning include low relative humidity, strong winds, dry fuels, the possibility of dry lightning strikes, or any combination of the above,” said Bird.

The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest encourages visitors to follow the fire tips below for a safe recreating experience:

  • Do not leave campfires unattended.
  • Clear vegetation and dry debris down to bare soil within 10 feet around your campfire.
  • Be sure to completely put out campfires, leaving the site cold to the touch.
  • Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling.
  • Ensure cigarettes, cigars and tobacco pipes are fully extinguished when not in use.
  • Use caution when operating vehicles in close proximity to vegetation. Spark arresting devices must be properly installed and maintained on all internal combustion engines.
  • Fireworks, exploding targets, and incendiary or tracer ammo are PROHIBITED on public lands.
  • Be aware that all types of ammunition can start fires under the right conditions while target shooting. To avoid a chance of sparking, do not use solid copper, steel-core, or steel-jacketed ammunition and always avoid shooting in dry fuels or rocky areas.
  • Call 911 to report any wildfires.

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