Living With Fire Podcast

Managing Fire in Nevada

August 19, 2021 Living With Fire Season 1 Episode 3
Living With Fire Podcast
Managing Fire in Nevada
Show Notes Transcript

Host Megan Kay talks with Gwen Sanchez, Fire Management Officer with the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, and Paul Peterson, the Nevada State Fire Management Officer with the Bureau of Land Management about managing fire in Nevada. They explain how agencies work together throughout the state to respond to fire, restore landscapes and mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Megan Kay:

Welcome to the living with fire Podcast, where we share stories and resources to help you live more safely with wildfire. Hi, I'm Megan Kay, your host and outreach coordinator for the living with fire program, and I'm joined today by Jamie rice gums my boss manager at the living with fire program. Hi, Jamie. Hey Megan. We're here to talk about our interview with Paul Peterson, Nevada State fire management officer with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada. And when Sanchez fire management officer of the Humboldt toiyabe National Forest, we got to talk with these two folks about fire management in Nevada, because they both are fire management officers. And I recently met them. In my position as outreach coordinator. I've been with the program for about a year and a half. But Jamie, you've had the opportunity to work with Glenn and Paul for a while. So I really just valued your input on the interview, and I wanted to get your take on what they said. And what you know, give a little preview of what the listeners can look forward to.

Jamie Roice-Gomes:

Um, you know, I actually, I Gwen started relatively recently, I haven't met her until the summer of 2021. But, Paul, yeah, I've worked with Paul for a few years. And these are awesome partners of ours. It was great to listen to these federal partners about fire management in Nevada. You know, one thing that really struck a chord with me, which I thought it was really interesting was when Gwen had crunched some numbers and talked about the main cause of wildfire. So in Nashville at a national level 80% of wildfires are caused by humans, and 20% are caused by natural causes like lightning. And the inverse is true for Nevada, where 40% of wildfires are caused by humans and 60% is kurz from natural occurrences. And I, of course wanted to analyze that and figure out well, what why, why why is it so different? And I don't know. I mean, I it's like, I just wanted to my partner's horns like everybody does such a great job on prevention, that that's why the human causes are down.

Megan Kay:

I don't know, I'm sure there's no we shouldn't. In the moment, I didn't I did. But I guess we can speculate that maybe it's because Nevada has so much public land, it's like 85%, publicly, or you know, federally owned. So there's just not as many people on the land as maybe like other states. But yeah, those numbers are pretty, pretty crazy. And I like when she went a little bit further. And it says a little bit of a spoiler because it's a really good quote of hers, but she just talked about resources and find a response and just laid it out plain and simple. With Fire Prevention, which, you know, the idea that if you, you know, if you have this insane amount of fires that are human caused, that's a lot of time and energy and money spent on fire response instead of proactive like risk fuels mitigation projects. So she basically said like, hey, if you guys start less fires, we can restore these forests in these, these rangelands a little bit more, because we'll have the resources but the kitten, they don't really have the resources when they're stretched, so thin responding to all these kind of fires that are started by target shooting or chain dragging, you know, or just all the all the ways that humans cause fires in the landscape. And it was a thought that that really sunk in and it made me think twice about I mean, I don't really do that many things on the landscape that can start a fire but I do like to camp and do have like, like enjoy a campfire. So I'm definitely making sure I'm bringing enough water to Dallas I can't thank you Gwen. And Paul for that

Jamie Roice-Gomes:

just really resonated with me the the interagency collaboration that they have in the state of Nevada, and that is key and partners do such a great job at it.

Megan Kay:

Something that I thought was interesting too, was how the different strategies are all integrated. So you have like fire response with your your crews and your engines that are going out to respond to fire but pretty much right behind them. They're doing mitigation work as if the if they have the resources or not mitigation, yeah, mitigation and restoration work. So if there's a fire they're always Thinking about next steps. And I think that's a really interesting way of thinking about it. I don't think residents and individuals realize that that these agencies are thinking ahead. It just kind of these actions take a long time. So that was I really liked the way they laid that up. Yeah, so up next, in the interview, Gwen Sanchez and Paul Peterson. Enjoy. Thanks for joining us. I'm Megan Kay, the outreach coordinator for the living fire program. And today I am joined by Paul Peterson, the Nevada State fire management officer with the BLM. And when sanches the fire management officer for US Forest Service Humboldt toiyabe National Forest. Thank you guys for being here, Gwen. And, Paul. Before we begin with the questions, do you guys mind introducing yourselves? We'll start with Glenn, can you kind of tell us about what you do?

Gwen Sanchez:

Yeah. Hi, My name again is Gwen Sanchez. And being the fire management officer for the humble toidy. I oversee the fire aviation and fuels program across the state of Nevada and parts of California. And so it's a matter of coordinating those efforts not only across the forest, but in an interagency fashion to make sure that all of those efforts are unified within our partners, interest groups, different, you know, interagency partnerships to make sure that we've got that coordinated effort across our landscapes.

Megan Kay:

And then, Paul, what is your position look like at BLM?

Paul Peterson:

So thank you. So Paul Peterson state fire management officer for BLM Nevada, and similar to when manage fire preparedness, suppression, hazardous fuels, emergency stabilization, or rehab rehabilitation. fire prevention efforts across BLM and EIA managed lands within Nevada. And that, that includes not only working on an agency basis, but definitely on an interagency basis with all of our partners, both federal state and local fire departments.

Megan Kay:

Awesome. And then for folks who aren't familiar with the landscape, did you guys maybe just briefly describe where the lands are that you manage?

Gwen Sanchez:

Yeah, so I oversee lands that are administered by the Humboldt toiyabe National Forest. Some of those lands, the majority of them are dispersed across Nevada. And we do have some lands along the sear front that do fall into California. And so a lot more of the area that we're administering on the humble Toynbee is more overstory type of vegetation. We do have some some trees, higher elevation type of scenarios. And so as you move across Nevada, it is very, you know, hit and miss checkerboard, between BLM and you know, US Forest Service lands. And so there is a lot of coordination that has to happen just because of, you know, the variation as you go across the state.

Megan Kay:

Park, can you kind of give us an overview of the BLM land in Nevada?

Paul Peterson:

So BLM land is a little bit right about 47 point 3 million acres, and it is roughly 67% of all lands that are within Nevada, and it ranges there's BLM land in every single county across Nevada, and it ranges from annual and perennial grasslands to sagebrush, sagebrush steppe pinyon, Juniper, and then timber types on on higher elevations.

Megan Kay:

Thanks, Paul. I'll have more questions about those fields in a bit. Right now. I wanted to ask about what your agencies do to respond to wildfires when they happen.

Paul Peterson:

So, you know, wildfire knows no boundaries, and it doesn't have the consideration to either start on public or private land. And it it really depends on where it is across the state. But you know, we work in conjunction with all of our co operators and partners to to respond to wildland fires using closest resources that are available. And you know, we we work in conjunction with work our cooperators to suppress the fire in an effective manner using fire engines. dozers, aircraft, helicopters, hand crews Whatever else is out there.

Gwen Sanchez:

So our our effort is coordinated across the state to and really across the country, right? So, so what Paul said is, is 100% spot on, it doesn't matter what colored engine or where the fire starts, we're going to send the closest resource to that fire to start engaging that fire the quickest, right, so our, our goal across our interagency partners and ourselves is to keep fire small, to the smallest degree possible, and to try to minimize the impacts that that those unplanned ignitions have across our landscapes, right. And so, we we don't care, necessarily what agency the fire started on, we're sending the closest resources to try to be as efficient and effective as possible in putting those fires out. In addition to that, I'll take it one step further. Both of our agencies work in a fashion where we not only support local jurisdictions and our local agency lands, but we also if we have the ability to and we have access resources locally, if our conditions are such that we can support efforts nationally, we will mobilize resources nationally to support, you know, larger incidents across the country. And so our firefighters are trained not only to support and, and, you know, look at fires locally, but also in an interagency fashion to support incidents across the country. I'll take that one step further. We also support different requests that come down, maybe through FEMA vaccination centers, we do hurricane support, we've done a lot of different support outside of just depression. And so our firefighters are some of the most well trained, well rounded, you know, personnel that that you'll run across.

Megan Kay:

So you mentioned how your agencies respond to unplanned ignitions. But I wanted to address the role of natural fire in the Nevada landscape. Paul, can you describe when fire is beneficial to the ecosystem?

Paul Peterson:

You bet. So, you know, obviously, fires being on the landscape for a long time, longer than than we've been here. And, you know, most of our fires historically have been natural caused from predominantly lightning, mostly lightning. And, you know, he did fires in the natural ecosystem, you know, burns off any of the the old grasses burns off some of the, the old, brash, and rejuvenates a lot of the range lands that are out there. Unfortunately, you know, since it is a natural part of the ecosystem, as you have repeated burns in in different areas, it does affect the soil, it does affect the vegetation type. That's one of the reasons why either doing fire rehabilitation, which we'll talk about in a minute, and or affected fire suppression.

Megan Kay:

Yeah. And then in the humble swabby. What do you How would you describe the role of fire in the ecosystem they're going?

Gwen Sanchez:

I absolutely agree with everything. You know, Paul said, it's a, it's been here a long time before we have been here. There's a lot of positive objectives that come from fire across our landscapes, you know, it's definitely reduces further or future fire risk, if we can eliminate some of the fuels up front, it's, you know, has the ability to to help us when we are engaging buyers, for suppression, to be able to use those fire scars to our advantage. It helps with you know, resiliency within our vegetation, just with that nutrient cycling and trying to, you know, get some of those nutrients back into the soils, helps with, you know, water health and increasing the health of our water systems, which a lot of the water that comes across, especially in the Great Basin comes off of our lands. And so we want to make sure that we're maintaining the health of that water system and its overall ecological function. And so I think the important part is from from my agency's perspective, is, there are fires that are unplanned, that are not under the right conditions that we do need to suppress. And then there are good fire, there are fires that we intentionally set through the use of prescribed fire programs. And we do have that across the entire state. And there are fires that are naturally ignited that as a US Forest Service Agency, we consider using those fires, because we we feel that the benefits of monitoring that fire across the landscape actually is worth the benefit versus putting out fire out for a lot of reasons. Since the reasons that I just mentioned, and so I think that it's a fine balance between on, you know, playing and understanding the risk that we're taking on, associated with every single incident and ignition, and really trying to work hard to put the fires out, that present a risk to our communities, and to maybe allow fire to play some natural role even in in a unplanned scenario, but especially in a planned event like a prescribed fire event.

Megan Kay:

Communities located in wildfire prone areas need to take extra measures to live safely. There are many ways to prepare communities and properties for wildfire, including creating and maintaining adequate defensible space and hardening homes to withstand wildfire. This could mean altering or replacing certain components of the home. Our wildfire home retrofit guide will help you better prepare your home and communities for wildfire. You can find the guide in the resources section of our website at living with fire calm. I'd like to quickly unpack what you meant when you mentioned resiliency and the landscape. What is a resilient landscape?

Paul Peterson:

This could be a whole podcast on itself of really, you know, what is a resilient landscape? And and what is that difference between the range land forest, and then if you throw a wildland urban interface in the mix, you you probably have your own podcast series that we could talk about next season. Exactly. And so, you know, really focused on what is a real resilient landscape, and I'll focus on non wildland urban interface areas. So in in the range land it is, you know, it's an area that can support fire without adverse impacts to the land. And so if that is an area where we can get rid of some some grass or brush that really makes a resilient landscape, and then moving into the wildland urban interface when we talked about resiliency, you know, encouraging homeowners to have that defensible space. And, you know, planting, planting and or removing plants that you know, will help their home become more resilient. And so having, you know, 30 foot clearance, removing overhead branches, and having grasses that are in there that hold the moisture a little bit longer to support that resiliency within the wildland urban interface.

Megan Kay:

Awesome. Thanks for going on that Detroit with me. You bet. Without a doubt. Does anybody else want to add anything? Or? If not, then I just want to kind of dive into what are the main causes of wildfires.

Gwen Sanchez:

So like Paul said, earlier, wildfire has played fire has played a role in our landscape a lot longer than then we've been, you know, across our landscapes. And so it's historically always been here, I just worked with a news station out of Las Vegas a couple weeks ago. And so I did some number crunching to see where we're at, nationally, not specific to Nevada, but nationally, about 80% of our fires are human caused, and 20% are natural type of ignitions. Within Nevada, that number is lower, which is a great thing, but still 40% of our fires across Nevada, you know, plus or minus a few percentages, depending on the year, but you look at a 10 year average, it's over 40% of our buyers are human caused 60% natural ignition. And so I do think that we still have a long ways to go in order to try to help not only educate but prevent those unwanted fires. You know, a lot of times those are the fires that that do cause us, you know, a lot of suppression issues and resistance to suppression and, you know, are not always the fires that, you know, come with moisture, or you know, have some sort of natural suppression, you know, roll around them within the environments. And so they they become problematic a lot of times. And so I think it's really important that as we have this fire conversation, we not only talk about you know, suppressing fires, but we also talk about what people can do to help this larger cause for every one of those, you know, fires that we have to respond to that are not naturally ignited. It just takes those resources away from you know, what really we could be doing either on a suppression perspective or a fuels perspective or a training perspective, or you name it right and so, just think about what we could be Doing if we had 80% less buyers nationally, or even 40% less buyers across the state, it's pretty impressive numbers.

Megan Kay:

Yeah, that's definitely something to think about all the fuels mitigation and, you know, fields projects, and that you could be doing. We'll go to the Paul for the next one to start the next one. What does the BLM do? Like what kind of efforts do you engage in to prevent these human caused ignitions.

Paul Peterson:

So we have a couple different fire prevention efforts that that we have focused on one is the one less spark campaign. And it is it's focused at, you know, whether that is recreation, or whether that is grazing or whether that is, you know, off road vehicles on public land. And it is it is focused on doing your part, and try being responsible, picking up trailer chains, or not leaving campfires, and no open fires that type of stuff. To to reduce the threat of human caused fires, we have also done a campaign where it's called the tea cane campaign. And it's focused on shooting on public lands and, and we greatly value our public lands and the ability to recreate on them, we have seen an increase probably in the last 10 years, shooting cause fires, whether that is from metal, metal chip bullets, steel coated steel jacketed bullets, or exploding targets. And you know that that's fine to shoot, you know, in public lands, but where you're shooting at, you want to make sure that you have a, you know, an area that's free of vegetation. And so we we've partnered with gun stores and outdoor stores, we have we've had targets made that you can shoot at our targets all you want. And at the bottom, it has a bunch of tips of what you can do to help prevent wildland fires. And so between those two, we have really focused on that trying to minimize those human caused fires.

Megan Kay:

And then when did you do you want to describe the what the Forest Service does to minimize those fires?

Gwen Sanchez:

Yeah, so a lot of the efforts that Paul just talked about our interagency efforts, right, and so again, we, regardless of where the fires start, we share them. And and so we also feel it's important that we share trying to prevent fires. One thing that is really exciting that's coming up here, the first of May, is we're partnering, the Forest Service BLM, and some of our other interagency partners on a statewide fire prevention tore to kick off our Fire Prevention Awareness for the summer. And we're going to be visiting communities across the state of Nevada to just try to educate people on you know, how to be fire safe, how to do exactly the things that Paul had just discussed, you know, what they can do to help prevent fires, as we start to get into the summer months. Last year was a heavy fire left for us. And you know, there was a we had a really active fire season. And so we partnered on numerous occasions, bringing additional support in from across the country to just have more people in and around campgrounds to have more people in and around areas where we know that you know, we have those those people shooting in and around, you know, areas that just are high public high visibility areas just to try to encourage and and teach people what to do to prevent that. I don't know there's, you know, very many of those people that are out to intentionally do harm. I think a lot of it is just they just don't know, the other part that we really kind of struggled with with last year is we had a lot of new users to our federal lands and to just recreation in general. And so just how do we reach those new users? And how do we, you know, continue to spread the message about how to prevent wildfires. And so we work really closely and and year round on this effort trying to just reach people and educate people. It's a full time job really important to both our agencies. And and, yeah, it's it's something that I'm proud of, specifically for what we've done across

Unknown:

Nevada. And is that because of COVID, that you had all those users, those new users because they are, you know, can't go anywhere else. So might as well go outsid

Gwen Sanchez:

Yeah, you know, I think that there's probably a lot to that I have not, you know, asked that question. I don't know that for a fact. But when you're not able to go in and around your communities. People get pretty sick of being at home. And so what better way to get outside and out of your house than to go to the public lands and record and just get away from you know, your house. And so I do think that the increases that we saw were definitely tied to the pandemic and, and I would think that we're we're likely going to see, you know, a similar use this summer as we continue to be, you know distanced in our communities and in and around our towns.

Jamie Roice-Gomes:

Hey guys, Jamie Roice-Gomes, with the livi g with fire program, I am real y glad when that you wrench in o the prevention team. Right now I am knee deep in webin r alligators figuring out a gro p series that is going to go n this summer with living a fir . And so we actually have a fi e investigator from BLM who s going to go over a fire that e investigated. And then he s going to bring on another pers n from the prevention team to ta k about, you know, the risks f causing a fire and and t e ramifications that happens f you do cause a wildfire and wh t you can do to prevent such fr m occurring. So it's just y t another great, great thing th t the prevention team is doi g around Nevada, and you will e on that prevention team. I don t know if I can, we actually ha e an issue of like being in pers n right now at the we'll see wh t we can d

Megan Kay:

Like I didn't even ask is like, and you will be on the prevention team. Just volunteering people. Thanks for mentioning that, Jamie, I'm really looking forward to that webinar. I've never, I have never talked to anybody about a fire investigation. And I think it would be really great to understand how those work. So besides, so you guys have this educational campaign, which is very important. But you also do impose fire restrictions on public lands during the hot months, can you guys describe what those look like and what people can expect when those are in place.

Paul Peterson:

So there's a couple different things that really drive when we would use fire restrictions or not. And, you know, a couple of those is looking at what our fuel load looks like on the ground. And then also what our fire danger looks like on the ground. And, you know, if we have, you know, as approaching into high fire danger, you know, Fourth of July, middle of August, or something like that, where we are seeing high susceptibility for ignitions, then we might enter into fire restrictions. And, you know, last year we did it on on a statewide basis, which is the first time that we did that. But usually it is really based upon the individual BLM district or Forest Service Ranger District zone where they go into fire restrictions, because as we as we move throughout the state, there's a lot of variability in not only vegetation, but also, you know, fire danger. And so we have to, we have to tailor that. So we don't impact the entire state at once, you know, quite often Southern Nevada will go into fire restrictions first based upon what their indices are, and what their vegetation is. And that would make sense to do the same thing, you know, where it's still green, like Ireland up there. So we have to really tailor it. And what we do is we look at what are the conditions, what are what are likelihood of public that are out there. And we tailor those fire restrictions or fire prevention orders to match that. And we might, we might ban campfires, depending on what it is, could be shooting explosive targets could be lighting, dynamite on public lands, you know, open welding, grinding, you know, that type of stuff. And so depending on on what we're seeing, as far as the indices and or activities that are out there, and the risks that they might cause a fire, we might enter into require restrictions. And we do that, you know, somewhere in the state on an annual basis injury and fire restrictions to reduce that risk due to other general public and or communities.

Megan Kay:

So two questions first, how how would How do people learn about the fire restrictions? like where do they go to know which lands are under fire restriction?

Paul Peterson:

So we have we do press releases. So you pick your pick your favorite press source, and you can probably find it there. The best way to find it is through Nevada fire info. And through Nevada fire info, we have all of our current fire information and fire restrictions that are on that. And

Megan Kay:

second question, why would anybody be using dynamite on public?

Paul Peterson:

There is that well, there is all good question. But, you know, there's there's generally a reason for a rule that's put in place is because somebody is broken, right? And really what it is, we're when we enter into fire restrictions, we're looking at what type of ignition sources that are out there, and is there ways that we can prevent those ignition sources.

Megan Kay:

Awesome. And then so it because Nevada fire info.com is an interagency effort, right? So those fire the Humboldt via Wi Fi restriction is going to be on there as well. And one,

Gwen Sanchez:

yeah, this interagency and so all the different agencies have access to that. And last year, you know, if you to winter, you the same restrictions for the Humboldt toiyabe, you the same restrictions for the BLM. And we also work really hard, depending on the why, you know, and and sometimes the need, we may go into statewide restrictions where we are, you know, across multiple agencies and aligning that we did that last year as a result of COVID. I think about the mid April 1 part of may or so where we actually did go into statewide restrictions on an interagency basis just to try to reduce, you know, and help with the human caused buyers in that early season. And so we are all very active, there's a lot of information on there, we're working to do, you know, like an FAQ right now for restrictions, because there's just so many questions. And, and it's not one size fits all, and it's not always the same. And so we've got, you know, level one restrictions all the way to level three restrictions, and depending on which level we are it, you know, limits different activities. And so, I would encourage all of our publics to go look at that, if you haven't already, lots of information on that websites. And we hope to continue to provide information to that on an interagency basis, so that you can go there and also get links to other agency information from that one stop shop site.

Megan Kay:

84% of wildfires nationwide are caused by people. If you're planning on heading out and enjoying public lands, visit Nevada fire info.org and learn how you can recreate responsibly and do your part to prevent wildfires. Let's move into talking about some of the rehab efforts that you guys do after after fires happen. So after a fire occurs, what what did those rehab efforts look like? And also just maybe for folks who don't undertake understand the term rehabilitation? Maybe dive into that a little bit? And do when would you want to go first? Yeah,

Gwen Sanchez:

definitely. So So rehabilitation, you know, it's, it's a hard one because again, it's not one size fits all. And it really depends on on the type of fire and the train and, and the location and the vegetation. And there's so many things that go into that rate. For for the Forest Service, a lot of it has to do with stabilization. And just making sure that the area has a way to not be further impacted, depending on if we get you know, rains or whatever might come after that. And so as soon as we and actually during the process of of, you know, putting a fire out and igniting a fire, once we have that fire to a point where we feel safe within certain areas, we will bring in specialists to come examine the area and see what sort of, you know, rehabilitation efforts need to be made in order to, you know, stabilize and prevent that area from further impacts to you know, whatever Mother Nature might give them at whatever point and so we will bring hydrologists in will bring soil scientists in we will bring, you know, just different specialists that we see on depending on what might be present. Last year, we had a fire in the southern Sierra area, this link fire and we had a very specific type of fish in that area. And so we brought in a fish biologist specific to that area just to make sure that we weren't missing something that we were needing to do in order to protect that very unique species to that area. And so we will do different things depending on where we're at what our areas of concern are, what do we have any threatened or endangered species in an area that we need to be very cautious about? And what what what might you need to do in order to protect those ecosystems from any further damage. And so that's really the way that we look at that. We bring in those specialists, it usually takes, you know, anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months, depending on the incident and the size and how many, you know of those very unique ecosystems we need to look at. And at that point, we will submit a report and, you know, see what we can do to get additional funding. And that funding is above and beyond what we currently get funded for. It's part of an emergency response fund. In order to do some of that read rehabilitation across the landscape.

Megan Kay:

And then. So Paul, why, why is rehabilitation needed like so what would happen if you didn't rehabilitate the landscape after a fire.

Paul Peterson:

So as Glen said, it really depends on the area. And it could be as simple as if it's in a watershed, a community watershed. So there's quite a few communities that are across the state, they might get their water from a creek source, and or ground wells. And if, if we have a fire in that area, and it slips off the vegetation, we just have a bunch of ash and silt that is there, that can totally impact the community. It could also impact debris flows. And so like South Carson City and gardnerville area and the pine nuts, there's been a couple fires and in the fall, they get some big storms and can create huge debris flows, which can also clog up either the potable drinking system and or the wastewater system, the storm drain system. So trying to minimize that the soil movement more than anything else. And that could be that can be accomplished through some some interim steps of straw wattles, or you know, some some vegetation that is down there to maintain that soil in place, but then doing some seeding on top of that. And then hopefully, hopefully, we have a wet winter where we have some grass growth and you can stabilize that soil. So not only to prevent that soil movement, and erosion, but also to start rehabilitating landscape and bringing back good grasses that are

Megan Kay:

awesome. And then when you mentioned the the slink fire, do you have any other highlights or projects you working on? Right now that you want to talk about rehabilitation projects? Um, yeah, so

Gwen Sanchez:

a lot of the large fires that we had, from last year, we have worked on, you know, rehabilitation efforts, over the last few months in through the winter, we just recently got done doing some aerial receding on the Ponyville. Fire, you know, in the higher elevations. And again, you know, as Paul mentioned that that was just to try to get regrowth in the area to prevent movements are large runoff from impacting, you know, the the communities in and around Reno and, and that may have been affected by, you know, the pole wheel fire. And so, we will bring in any sort of, of we will bring in bear, and bear is a burned area emergency rehabilitation team. So we will bring in a team anytime there's, you know, more than, than a couple 100 acres on a fire. And anytime we see you know, a specialist sees that there's there's any potential for you know, those different environments to be impacted. We will bring in a team to do that assessment and see what that is. We have ongoing efforts across multiple fires happening right now. Like I said, boville slink, we've got efforts down happening on the mahogany fire in Southern Nevada in the Las Vegas area, we've got efforts happening across the state right now to to work on that rehabilitation of those large fires from last year.

Megan Kay:

And is it the same personnel that are doing the wildfire response? Or that the firefighters are? I mean, you mentioned there's the bear team, but so I guess the question is, do your firefighters stay on year round to help with those rehabilitation efforts?

Gwen Sanchez:

So we do have firefighters that do stay on year round, it kind of depends again, on on what that rehabilitation effort may include, you know, if we need people to be in on the ground and and rehabbing dozer lines, for instance, to make sure that that you know, we've got metallic material pulled back onto those lines, then that we've got, you know, area for for that water to run off, and it's not going to run down to his reliance and you know, make big difference and existing over a dozer lines, then we will utilize those crews in order to do that. And a lot of times that efforts being done, you know, before the fire, you know is even over. We're doing a lot of that as we can, as soon as the fire activity allows us to do that effort. And so it is kind of ongoing, really from the beginning of the incident, we start to look at that and consider those needs clear through sometimes several years later. Our folks you know, will sometimes work on on those projects, you know, three 510 years down the road depending on you know what that need is on that specific incident sometimes times it's contract work. Sometimes it is, you know, internal are folks that are doing that work. What what I think is important is that we are bringing in specialists that understand the soil that understand the the biology to understand, you know, fish habitats that understand all of those different specialty areas to be able to help us and make making those decisions and those recommendations. And then from that point, once we get those recommendations and decisions approved, then we'll we'll either contract that workout, or we'll do some of that work ourselves, depending on what we have the capacity

Megan Kay:

to do. And then Paul, do you have any highlights on BLM, BLM land, and you'd like to talk about our projects going on?

Paul Peterson:

Yeah, so virtually every one of our fires, I guess, not virtually, we've been doing too much virtually over the last year, we rehabilitate every fire that that we have, there's very few that we don't. And so you know, every single year, we have a rehabilitation program. And we do have, we've got dedicated individuals that are that are with that, because when said, you know, some of our firefighters and fire crews, they do participate in the operational aspect implementation of that, you know, probably a couple different ones, that is Martin fire. And so the Martin fire, that's the largest fire entirely within Nevada a couple years ago. And so we're still working on rehabilitation on that. And it is everything from aerial seeding to drill seeding, herbicide treatments, one of our partners is Nevada Department of Wildlife. And they have been a huge asset for us helping with some of the seeding aerial seeding, and and providing some of the seed for for wildlife benefit. And you know, just to maintain the soil that's out there. Yeah, and so that's, that's probably the the biggest one that we're still continuing to work on. But you know, we do work on on almost every fire that we have, if there's some type of rehabilitation,

Megan Kay:

then imagine what the frequency of these fires, you're probably having fires burn in your rehabilitation projects to which can be

Paul Peterson:

I don't know. And so that is, that's it, that's definitely one thing, you know, if if we're investing, you know, a million dollars or so in rehabilitation of a fire, you know, we want to protect that investment as well. And so sometimes as we're, as we're repairs, we're building those rehabilitation treatments, we might also build in some hazardous fuels treatments that are in there, as well as putting some some crested weed grasses or something alongside the road site to get something that's going to hold the moisture a little bit more and provide a little bit more resiliency. And so trying to trying to keep the investment and trying to make that that landscape more resilient, as we talked about. Awesome.

Megan Kay:

Awesome. Well, thank you guys for letting me pick your brains for 45 minutes. And for joining us, and I just wanted to open it up and see if anybody else had any questions.

Jamie Roice-Gomes:

Now you guys keep bringing up stuff from our webinars, which is awesome. synergy synergy. I know, right, we are actually going to be having an after the fire rehabilitation webinar, it's going to feature somebody from NDF and somebody from endowed Nevada Department of Wildlife, and they're going to be talking about receding a fire that I believe that the Humboldt toiyabe has contracted with, which is kind of cool. So that's going to be happening in timber, I believe, but don't quote me. But you know, I actually thought about this. Now I have, I'm going to switch gears on you guys. I have never worked in another state regarding wildfire preparedness. But I have heard from folks that the interagency collaboration in Nevada is top notch. Now, I am not asking you to review to talk trash about any other agencies in different states. But I was wondering if you guys could attest to that, that that piece of information that I heard?

Paul Peterson:

Well, I've worked in Nevada my whole career. So I couldn't tell you about other states. But I've heard stories. You know, the What I do know about Nevada, though, yes, that is a huge state. And, you know, we can't you know, one agency cannot do it by themselves. No one fire department can do it by themselves. And so, you know, it's not that we're forced to, it's the right thing to do is to work together to prevent wildfires, and then also to suppress wildfires. And, you know, if if you don't get along, you know, before the fire, you're not going to get along on the fire. And that's not a great spot to be in. And so you know, we have great partnerships. We do a lot of work before and after the fire season, just get ready for the fire season. And we are we're in countless planning sessions, working on agreements, working on strategies for fire prevention, working on strategies for hazardous fuels treatments. You know year round to get to when the fire Season is in the fire seasons are getting longer and longer. And so we've got shorter time to plan. But areas, it's critical for us to have good partnerships to work across boundaries. Glenn, do you have anything to add regarding that?

Gwen Sanchez:

Yeah, so so I have worked in five different states in three different US Forest Service regions. And I am very, very thankful and, and just proud to be in Nevada. It when I came into Nevada, it was open arms. And you know, the communication here is just top notch. And in our fire response here is top notch. And I just appreciate that interagency perspective and approach that we have here in Nevada. You know, as you travel into other areas, and it's not always like that. And sometimes there's a lot of ego in the way, sometimes there's a lot of, you know, pride in your single agency that's in the way and, and I just don't see that here, like I have in other areas of the country that I have worked, it's pretty rare that I'll go a week without talking to Paul, I talked to him probably as much if not more than some of my own staff within, you know, my agency. And so it's, it's a really cool relationship we have here. In addition, we've got a lot of really active groups, you know, the Northern Nevada Fire Chiefs group, we've got the Sierra front fire chiefs, we've got, you know, Fire Chiefs that are within tavo. And so a lot of people recognize that I can't say it enough, none of us can do it alone. This is having to be an interagency approach, or none of us would be successful, our success comes because we're willing, and able, and, and all see the value and working together. And that really is, you know, kind of the bottom line. And that's not just the federal agencies that are state and local partners as well. Those local fire chiefs are at the table, the states at the table, the feds were at the table. And because of all that different level approach really going towards those same common goals. It's just allowed for a lot of success on the ground. And so I've seen it work, and I've seen it work less than what it works here. And I'm really, really happy to be here part of this team because it's a high highly functioning team. And we've got great people that that really just want everyone to be successful and it's a pretty cool relationship and a cool place to be.

Megan Kay:

Thank you for listening to the living with fire podcast. You can find more stories about wildfire and other resources at living with fire.com. The living a fire program is funded by the University of Nevada, Reno extension, Nevada Division of Forestry, Bureau of Land Management and the United States Forest Service.