Active Wildfire Season Could Be In Store For Northern Nevada

Jun 20, 2016

Photo of Hawken Fire in Reno's Caughlin Ranch neighborhood. Photo taken on June 15, 2016 by Marcus Lavergne.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning to several western states including parts of California and southern Nevada. The higher temperatures also pose an extreme fire danger. Reno Public Radio’s Anh Gray explores what the risks are in Northern Nevada.

Climate researcher Dan McEvoy is with the Desert Research Institute.

“We are  kind of are set up for the potential to have a very active wildfire season in the northern and western Nevada this summer,” McEvoy says.

McEvoy says the wet spring this year has produced more vegetation than usual. But it has now dried out because of the hot summer, becoming fuel.

“Last summer we had quite a bit of thunderstorm activity in July and August," McEvoy says, "so if we get some dry thunderstorms, with a lot of lightning and not a lot of rain, that can definitely lead to fire outbreaks in places around here.”

Just last week, the Hawken Fire burned nearly 300 acres and threatened dozens of homes in Reno’s Caughlin Ranch neighborhood. The cause of that fire is still under investigation.