Fuels and Fire Prevention

RX Fire burning in mechanically treated tamarisk (salt cedar) slash piles in 2006

Fire Prevention and Hazardous Fuels Reduction Programs

Suppression is just one part of the BLM’s comprehensive Fire Management program. The BLM also has Prevention, Hazardous Fuels Reduction, and Rural Fire Assistance Programs. These represent a holistic approach by preventing human caused fires, reducing dangerous concentrations of fuels from high risk areas, and providing grants of equipment to rural fire departments whose jurisdictions border BLM lands.

A strong Fire Prevention Program is a vital part in the BLM’s Southern Nevada District Office (SNDO) mission to manage wildland fires and to educate the public about the natural resource benefits that wildland fires can provide and the dangers of unwanted wildfires. The BLM prevention program in Southern Nevada works closely with cooperator agencies to ensure a unified fire safety message is given to the public. Every year SNDO Fire Prevention and Education personnel issue fire restrictions. Fire restrictions are announced cooperatively with the USFS, USFWS, NPS, and Nevada Division of Forestry.  A program of signs and media coverage publicizes fire restrictions and fire danger to the public.


SNDO fire personnel participate in the Nevada Wildland Fire Prevention Week activities, staff information booths at the Clark County Fair and other outdoor themed community events, and perform educational outreach programs for various schools in Clark County. Thousands of public contacts are made spreading the message of fire safety. The SNDO enlists the help of the most recognizable fire prevention icon in the world - Smokey Bear.  Each year in Clark County, Smokey makes approximately 10,000 public contacts warning both kids and adults of the dangers with playing with matches, the dangers to human safety and property damage caused by unwanted wildfires, and both the negative and positive ecological impacts of wildland fires. One of the most successful programs we use is the July 4th mini-house demonstration which is a collaborative effort with the Clark County Fire Department. A miniature house is built by the fire crews and is later burned down after being ignited by fireworks. This event is covered by the local television news stations and aired as a reminder to the public in Clark County of the potential dangers of misusing both legal and illegal fireworks. Investing small amounts in fire prevention can potentially save millions in suppression costs.


Fire is natural part of the landscape. Areas that have gone without fire a long time become dangerously overgrown so that when they do burn the results are devastating, especially if humans have moved into the area. In other places invasive species and noxious weeds such as Cheat Grass, Red Brome,  and Tamarisk (Salt Cedar) have moved into areas and are more susceptible to fire than native species causing larger, more dangerous, and more destructive fire events. One such area is the thick stands of invasive Tamarisk growing along the Virgin River in Clark County. Fire incidence was high in this area and the fires were expensive to suppress. The BLM has undergone a program to remove tamarisk in areas and replace it with native vegetation more beneficial to wildlife and less prone to wildfire.

The BLM helps local fire departments receive training in wildland fire suppression and will give surplus equipment to neighboring fire departments through the Rural Fire Assistance Program. This benefits both agencies and improves cooperation and interoperability and helps prevent fires on private land from spreading to federal lands and vice versa.


Evacuation Information

SNDO Firefighters assisting USFWS personnel on RX Burn to help create habitat for waterfowl.