Human-caused fire starts are increasing
Las Vegas –Public lands in Southern Nevada have seen a recent increase in the size and number of human-caused wildfires.
Due to dry conditions on public lands, BLM Southern Nevada District entered into fire restrictions on May 9, almost a week sooner than ever before due to wildland fires growing at rates not usually seen this time of year. Statewide interagency fire restrictions went into effect on June 6.
“Public lands should be enjoyed, but they must be enjoyed responsibly to reduce the number of human-caused fires,” said Tyler Hecht, BLM Southern Nevada District Acting Fire Management Officer. “Simple actions can make a huge difference. If you are target shooting, don’t use steel core ammo or exploding targets. If you are using an OHV, use a spark arrestor. If you would like to cook while on public lands, use a camp stove instead of an open fire.”
To reinforce this message, a fire prevention team came to Southern Nevada in May and distributed information in 67 businesses and locations. In addition, roadway reader boards have been placed in areas that have seen increased wildland fires.
Historically, about 80 percent of wildland fires in Southern Nevada are caused by humans. So far this year, about 97 percent of fires have been human caused. Higher than normal precipitation has accelerated the grass growth and invasive species persist in the open spaces not normally occupied by vegetation, as a result Southern Nevada is experiencing a more active than normal fire season.
“It takes a team approach to fight wildland fires and we need everyone to be part of the team,” said Hecht. “Please do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires.”
Human causes, such as target shooting, OHV off-road use and abandoned and escaped campfire are responsible for the majority of wildfires in the Southern Nevada public lands area. So far this year, 62 wildland fires were reported and extinguished on public lands managed by the BLM Southern Nevada District.
“Safety of the public and our firefighters is our top priority,” said Hecht. “If you are target shooting in an area near where firefighters are suppressing a fire, please move to a difference location. If you see or accidentally start a wildland fire, please call 911 or 702-293-8999.”
Fire restrictions prohibit:
- building and/or using a campfire or charcoal stove (using portable stove using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel OK providing it has an on/off switch)
- smoking is allowed in an enclosed vehicle only
- operating or parking a vehicle or other motorized equipment over or on top of dried/cured vegetation
- operating an off-road vehicle without a spark arrestor
- welding or operating an acetylene torch with open flames (except by permit)
- possessing, discharging, use or allowing the use of fireworks, pyrotechnic or incendiary devices
- shooting, igniting or causing to burn; explosives or explosive material, including binary explosive targets
- discharging a firearm using a tracer, incendiary or steel-component ammunition
Violations can result in a fine of up to $10,000 and a year in jail as well as the costs associated with resource damage, suppression costs, and injuries if found guilty.
For more information on interagency fire restrictions, please visit: nevadafireinfo.org.
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The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.