Elko Field Office
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DATE: May 21, 2007
CONTACT: Mike Brown, (775) 753-0386
Email: mbrown@nv.blm.gov
2006 Pre Fire Season #4, final in the series


“We find out about most wildfires because someone calls us on the phone and tells us there’s a fire,” said Elko Interagency Dispatch Manager Bill Roach.

“The effectiveness of our initial response depends on the quality and accuracy of information we get over the phone.” Dispatchers will ask people several questions:

- What is your name and where are you right now?

- Which direction is the smoke from where you’re standing and about how far away is it?

- What color is the smoke? (A small column of white smoke could be a diesel engine starting. Knowing the color of the smoke helps the dispatcher know what type of fire it may be.)

- How big does the fire look to you?

- Does the fire appear to be getting bigger?

- What is your phone number so we can call you back? (Sometimes fire fighters have difficulty finding the fire and have to call the reporting party for more information.)

- Can you see the flames? If so, you may be too close to the fire!

“To report fires, people can call 911, or 748-4000, or 738-FIRE. If we know a controlled burn is going on, we will do our best to get word out in the media so folks know ahead of time,” Roach added.

Here are things homeowners can do make fighting fires more effective:

- Make sure your home has address numbers that are easy to see and read
- Is your driveway wide enough for a fire truck to get in and get out?
- Identify your pump house – put reflective tape on it so it’s easily seen at night.
- Identify your septic tank, especially if it’s in proximity to your driveway. A fire engine can drop into one. Put a temporary fence around or a planter or stake it.
- Keep brush cleared away from your driveway so the residence is visible from the road. If your home is hidden by trees, it’s hard for fire fighters to find – especially at night. Have something on the road identifying your home.

“I can think of few things more upsetting for anyone than the prospect of losing their home,” said Nevada Division of Forestry Acting Regional Forester Tom Turk. “In 2006 and 2005 we were faced with several instances of voluntary evacuations and did the initial planning for others that didn’t happen. We recommend that folks start think and planning now to determine what the items that can’t be replaced are."

Typically, those items include family memorabilia, videos, important papers, and small keepsakes. These are the items of sentimental value and can’t be purchased. We encourage people to box those items and keep them by a window or a door so they can be grabbed on the way out of the house in case there’s an evacuation.

“People with pets or livestock should plan ahead as well. Make arrangements with friends or have predetermined locations where animals could be moved on short notice to get them out of harm’s way,” Turk continued. “The worst time to plan for an evacuation is when it’s taking place.

According to Turk, people need to plan ahead of time – especially if you live in the country. "There is a level of individual responsibility for caring for possessions,” said Turk. “Our fire fighters are concerned with protecting your life and structures, but we’re only as good as Mother Nature allows us to be,” Turk concluded.


Last updated: 03-27-2015