Wildfires

An image showing plumes of smoke billowing across the Mountain West.
NOAA

About one-third of Americans live in areas that regularly have unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to a new analysis out this week from Environment America, an organization of state-based environmental advocacy groups throughout the country.

Researchers from a number of states, including Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, have found that grazing does not help get rid of cheatgrass, a highly flammable weed. 

Senators from Colorado and Nevada are among those sponsoring a bill aimed at reducing firefighters’ exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. 

Earlier this month the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously approved the bill, which aims to protect firefighters from being exposed to a group of chemicals known as PFAS that are found in firefighting foams and gear.

Wildfire smoke crosses the U.S. on jetstream
NASA

For much of the last decade, air pollution was decreasing. But it’s now on the rise, particularly in the West.

That’s according to a recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. It found that between 2016 and 2018, the levels of fine particulate matter increased 11.5% in the West. California's been impacted the most.

A new study suggests huge fire blankets can help protect homes during wildfires.

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

A shot of a prescribed burn taking place earlier this year at the Fishlake National Forest in Utah.
Desert Research Institute

A recent study says the American West should be doing more prescribed burns to keep forests healthy and to help lessen the impacts of wildfires across our region. It also concluded that there needs to be a change in how we perceive the practice out here for that to happen.

Wildfires are still burning across the Mountain West, but far fewer than in the last few years.


Luke Flynt / Unsplash

Wildfires are a common part of life in our region. According to new research, they can also give scientists valuable information about the climate effects of another potential disaster: nuclear war.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing 11,000 miles of fuel breaks throughout our region to help combat the spread of wildfires.

Sage and wildflowers bloom along a section of rangeland in Northern Nevada.
Paul Boger / KUNR Public Radio

As fire season begins to ramp up across the American West, firefighters in Nevada will have more money this year to battle those blazes. That's due, in part, to new legislation passed by lawmakers during the 2019 session, but that's one of the many environmentally-related bills to come out of the legislature. KUNR's Paul Boger spoke with Daniel Rothberg with the Nevada Independent to break it all down.

fire burning trees on mountain
Matt Howard via Unsplash

A recent federal climate change report offers a grim outlook on the future. More wildfires, poorer air-quality and an increase in heat-related illnesses are expected. KUNR’s Anh Gray spoke with Tim Brown, an expert from the Desert Research Institute, to get his perspective on what global warming means for the health and safety of Nevadans.

ALERTWildfire Is Installing More Cameras In Nevada

Dec 4, 2018
An aerial shot of the Camp Fire in Paradise, California.
NASA

A recent climate change report finds wildfires will only grow more destructive and longer lasting. In fact wildfires could burn up to six times more forest area annually by 2050 in parts of the U.S. Even before this climate report, UNR's Graham Kent has been working on expanding the footprint of his Alert Wildfire System to tackle this rapidly growing problem.

A view of the mountains near an asphalt road. The landscape next to the road has been severely burned.
Namaan Horn, Fire Information Officer / Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest

Over the weekend, more than 3,200 Nevadans got their first look at the damage caused by a wildfire that blackened one of Nevada's most popular recreation areas in the Ruby Mountains. KUNR's Danna O' Connor has more.

Paul Boger

2017 was the hottest year on record for most of Northern Nevada. And while the warmer weather has created complications across the region, nowhere may be as impacted as Lake Tahoe. The delicate ecosystem of the continent’s largest alpine lake has been under assault for decades from invasive species, algae growth and decreasing clarity. But area leaders are now concerned that wildfires may pose an even greater threat to the lake.

Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District via Twitter

10 am Tuesday:

Farad Fire:

Location: 13 Miles Northeast of Truckee at the Nev/Cal border.

Size: 600 acres

Percent Contained: 10%

Personnel: 200

According to YubaNet News, firefighters worked through the night to construct control lines.

There are no evacuation orders in effect, but patrols will monitor the seven identified threatened structures in the Gold Ranch and Verdi Peak area.

Wildfire Season Begins: Fire Updates

Jun 18, 2017
Inciweb

Wednesday 12:00 p.m. update:

Another fire has broken out, this time 5 miles northwest of Jiggs, Nev. in Elko County. More than 100 firefighters are on scene of the Red Springs Fire, which has now burned 4,060 acres. The blaze is 15 percent contained, and no structures are threatened at this time.

Washoe County

October’s Little Valley Fire destroyed 23 homes and burned more than 2,200 twenty-two-hundred acres across Washoe Valley.

As Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports, local officials are now working to rehabilitate the charred landscape.

University of Nevada, Reno Seismological Laboratory

More than 100 fires burned through the Tahoe basin and Truckee Meadows this year, including the recent Little Valley Fire.

But as Reno Public Radio’s Noah Glick reports, a network of cameras is helping to reduce the impact and damage caused by these blazes.

As the Hot Pot Fire near Battle Mountain and Winnemucca gained momentum over the summer, crews were able to get much needed air resources because of video evidence showing a rapid growth of the blaze.

Updates: "Shooting Fire" Near Carson City

Aug 14, 2016
Carson City Fire Department

5:30 PM Monday update:

The Shooting Fire in Carson City, which was sparked by target shooters on Sunday, is mostly contained. Fire crews are cleaning up the area.

Officials say that aggressive aerial assistance and structure protection from local, state and federal agencies helped contain the blaze and led to no loss of structures. All roads are open to the public, and officials say crews will continue to protect private property.

10:45 AM Monday update:

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