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KUNR Today: Lake Tahoe Fire Restrictions Begin, Man Present At Insurrection Running For Nevada Gov.

An image of a fire in the forest
Eldorado National Forest
A prescribed burn, pictured here, can help forest managers manage fires. The U.S. Forest Service is updating fire restrictions this summer.

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Wednesday, June 16, 2021.

Updated Fire Restrictions For The Lake Tahoe Basin
By Isaac Hoops

To reduce the possibility of human-caused fires, the U.S. Forest Service has updated fire restrictions for the summer. More than 90 percent of wildfires at Lake Tahoe are caused by illegal campfires, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

As of Tuesday, campfires and outdoor stove fires, including those using wood and charcoal, are banned on National Forest System lands within the Tahoe Basin. Smoking outside of an enclosed vehicle is also prohibited, unless you are within a minimum 3-foot diameter area that is cleared of flammable material.

A violation of these restrictions is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 for individuals, and up to $10,000 for organizations. These restrictions are in effect through November or until they are rescinded by the U.S. Forest Service.

Free Disposal Of Green Waste In Washoe Valley
By Isaac Hoops

The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District is hosting a free collection of green waste for Washoe County residents. Green waste is organic waste from vegetation.

The district is hosting the event to encourage residents to dispose of dry and dead vegetation which may be on their property. Removing this vegetation creates a defensible space during wildfire season. Only natural vegetation will be accepted, excluding grass clippings, dirt and gravel and large stumps.

The collection will be held this Sunday at the Nevada Division of Forestry Fire Station from 9 am until 4 pm.

Wildfires On The Rise In High Elevation Forests
By Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

More wildfires are happening in the high-elevation forests of the Rocky Mountain region than at any point in the past 2,000 years. That’s according to a new study published this week.

Last summer, Colorado and Wyoming saw wildfires of record size.

"We were watching these things happen in real time and thinking, 'Oh, my gosh, this is unbelievable,'" said Bryan Shuman, a professor at the University of Wyoming and a co-author of the study. His team used charcoal found in lake sediment records to figure out the frequency of fires in the Rocky Mountains.

"There was a pretty big fire event or set of fires about 1,000 years ago, that burned a lot of Northern Colorado. But even that event, was not really comparable to where we are now," Shuman said.

Subalpine forests are typically cool, snowy places. But, Shuman said thanks to warmer summers and lower snowfall, these forests are becoming more vulnerable to wildfires.

California Farmers Told Drought Could Cut Off Their Water
By The Associated Press

Thousands of Central California farmers are being warned of possible water cutoffs this summer as the state deals with a drought that's already curtailed federal and state irrigation supplies. On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Control Board warned about 6,600 farmers in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed of “impending water unavailability” that may continue until winter rains come. The Sierra Nevada snowpack that is a crucial water supplier was extremely sparse this year. Gov. Gavin Newsom last month declared a drought emergency for much of the state, including the Central Valley.

County Clerks: Don't Hold Newsom Recall Before Mid-September
By The Associated Press

California’s county elections officials are urging the lieutenant governor not to schedule the expected recall election of Gov. Gavin Newsom before mid-September. Any earlier and they say they can't guarantee enough paper to print ballots. The California Association of Clerks and Election Officials' concerns are detailed in a Monday letter. The election date remains uncertain, with several convoluted steps before it's certified to go before voters. But Democrats in the Legislature are trying to speed up the process. County clerks say they need time to train poll workers, buy the necessary paper and handle other logistical tasks.

Nevada Man Present At Insurrection Announces Governor Bid
By The Associated Press

A northern Nevada attorney who has questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election and was outside the U.S. Capitol the day it was violently stormed is running for governor. A video posted on Facebook shows Republican Joey Gilbert told an applauding audience in Las Vegas over the weekend that he planned to challenge Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in Nevada’s 2022 gubernatorial race. Gilbert’s assistant Andrea Wexelblatt says he was unavailable to comment Tuesday but she confirmed his campaign announcement to The Associated Press. Gilbert joins a crowded field of Republican challengers.

Battery Recycling Firm To Expand Operations In Nevada
By The Associated Press

A battery recycling company founded by a former executive at Tesla Inc. has broke ground on 100 acres of land at an industrial park near Reno. The Reno-Gazette Journal reported that Redwood Materials is expecting its operations to continue growing with a boost in used battery packs from older electric vehicles. As a result, the company plans to expand its facilities and increase its workforce from just over 100 employees to more than 600. It is also undertaking a major facility expansion project in Carson City. Redwood Materials CEO JB Straubel, who is known for helping launch Tesla, said the company breaks down older batteries and scrap for reuse.

In Response To Extreme Shortage, Washoe County School District Is Recruiting School Bus Drivers
By Isaac Hoops

Washoe County School District is experiencing an extreme shortage of bus drivers and bus aides. District officials say they are aggressively recruiting applicants by offering financial incentives and paying for the training to earn a Commercial Driver’s License. The district is holding multiple hiring events this week to drum up applicants.

The district is hoping to increase the number of trained transportation employees by the beginning of the school semester in August.

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