Desert Basin Zone Fire Management, Battle Mountain District Fire and Aviation
The Battle Mountain Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Fire and Aviation program is part of the Desert Basin Zone Fire Management Program, which includes the Winnemucca District BLM Fire and Aviation, Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, Santa Rosa Ranger District.
The main mission of the Battle Mountain District Office, Fire and Aviation Program, is to protect life, property, and natural resources from wildland fire. Our office has primary fire suppression responsibility for protecting approximately 13 million acres of land from wildfire. This includes public lands managed by BLM and BIA with assistance to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), State and privately owned lands within the district.
The Fire Preparedness Program operates the Battle Mountain Air Attack Base, several SEAT bases, a fire cache, and two fire stations located in Eureka and Battle Mountain.
The Air Attack Base, located at the Battle Mountain airport, provides air tanker support for fires across northern Nevada. Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT) are also operated from bases set-up at airports at Austin, Eureka, and occasionally, Tonopah and Beatty.
Battle Mountain Fire Station is located at the Battle Mountain District Office, along with the fire cache, which supports the fire program with necessary supplies and equipment. Eureka Fire Station is located outside of the historic town Eureka, NV in the east/central area of the district, and helps cover the central and south ends of the district.
Most of our fires are caused by summer lightning storms, mostly during June through September. The fire crews also assist the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest for initial attack on fires on the Austin and Tonopah Ranger Districts well as portions of five adjacent BLM districts.
The Fire Program has a very challenging fuels management program. The fuels program is responsible for Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) projects and hazard fuels reduction/ecosystem improvements across the public lands managed by the BLM. Fuels program management is based out of the Battle Mountain District Office. Fire is a fundamental part of many natural ecosystems. Without fire, the health of some forests and rangeland ecosystems can be jeopardized. For this reason, prescribed burns” are carefully planned and conducted by fuels program staff to benefit specific areas. Prescribed burns can improve habitat for wildlife and domestic livestock, help trees and other vegetation regenerate, and prevent the accumulations of excess vegetation that may fuel catastrophic wildland fires.
The Fire Program also has a very active Prevention/Education/Mitigation program. The prevention/education/mitigation program is responsible for working with communities using outreach programs to help protect themselves from wildland fires, educating the public of wildland fire hazards, and for supporting the suppression program in wildland fire cause determination and investigation. To help prevent wildland fires, we join the USFS and other agencies to present various fire prevention messages, including the Smokey Bear program.
Our fire staff consists of 21 permanent employees. During the fire season our work force rises to about 32, including engine crews, air attack base personnel, dispatch personnel, and fuels personnel. We accept job applications for temporary fire positions in December long before fire season starts. Besides our staff, other employees of the BLM support the fire program in many ways, from providing necessary administrative support to firefighting.
The Battle Mountain District Office works cooperatively with many other federal, state, and county agencies and fire departments. Besides providing immediate assistance on fires in Lander, Eureka, Nye, and Esmeralda counties, BLM fire fighters and equipment are dispatched throughout the United States, wherever and whenever assistance is needed to fight wildland fires. Our dispatch center, Desert Basin Interagency Dispatch Center (DBIDC), is located in Winnemucca. The dispatch center is open year round, and during fire season it is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as needed.