Thursday, June 29, 2006
Contact: (775) 748-4141, (775) 753-0386
PUBLIC SAFETY ADVISORY BLOWING ASH AND DUST HAZARDOUS TO DRIVERS
Elko, Nevada - … Hazards can continue long after the fire is out.
Recent wildfires along the I-80 corridor and other roads in northeastern Nevada have the potential to create extremely hazardous driving conditions caused by blowing ash and dust.
Thunder storms with strong winds can blow ash and dust hard enough to cause zero visibility conditions on travel routes. There were fatal traffic accidents on I-80 because of blowing ash and dust after the 1999 Rose Fire and the 2005 Carlin Fire. The current Suzie Fire burned a swath more than 20 miles long in the area north of I-80 and areas within a few miles of the Mountain City Highway north of Elko.
If people encounter a dust/ash storm while driving that affects visibility they should follow these safety tips provided by the Nevada Highway Patrol:
- Do not stop in the middle of the road.
- Pull off the road as far to the right as possible.
- If there is a guard rail on the side of the road, drive to the end of the guard rail and park in front of it – creating a shield for your vehicle.
- TURN OFF ALL LIGHTS AND FLASHERS. If drivers behind you see your brakes lights or parking lights, it will look like your vehicle is moving and the natural thing to do is follow the lights … and their vehicle will run right into you.
- Wait for the storm to blow through or the dust to rise until you can safely see ahead of you before resuming travel.
These dust/ash hazards can remain for the next two to three months until there is a sustained
rain that settles the dust and ash.
For more information, contact the Nevada Highway Patrol at 775-753-1111.