The National Interagency Fire Center Predictive Services (NIFC) just released its national wildland fire outlook for April through July and the potential for wildfire in western Nevada is a little concerning.

The NIFC takes a look at three primary factors when compiling its forecast:

1. La Niña/El Niño conditions

2. Drought

3. Fuel Dryness

In terms of drought, almost all of Nevada is expected to see drought persisting or intensifying over the next few months. The image below maps this forecast and shows the problem is widespread across the southwestern states.

What does this mean for wildfire in Nevada? According to NIFC, while there are typically no significant fires during April or May, parts of the Western Great Basin have potential for large fire under windy conditions. Our state has been very dry this winter and the dryness of the fine fuels, like cheatgrass, can rapidly carry fire if an ignition occurs. Toward the close of May the Western Great Basin starts seeing small fires, with fire season reaching full swing in June.

The maps below depict areas with the potential for significant wildfire events. The first map reflects the potential for significant wildfire in April with areas of Washoe County, Douglas County, Storey County, Carson City and Lyon County facing an above normal fire threat. As we move into May the potential for a significant wildfire threatens a much larger swath of Nevada.

This winter the Washoe Drive and Caughlin fires made it readily apparent that wildfires are a year-round threat in our area. Given our wildfire history and the NIFC predictions, we recommend residents begin taking proactive steps to improve the chances their homes, families and property will survive a wildfire. Give the Living With Fire program a call at 775-784-4848 and we’ll mail you a free copy of our publication on Fire Adapted Communities which offers recommendations for things like implementing effective defensible space, ignition-resistant building construction and evacuation planning – all of which increase the likelihood your home and family can survive a wildfire without firefighter assistance. You can also join us at any of the Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week events taking place across the state, beginning April 28th with a kick-off event in Carson City. It’s a time to increase your understanding of the risks and responsibilities of living in wildfire-prone areas.

To view the complete NIFC report on the National Wildland Significant Fire Potential Outlook for April through July, click here.