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Carson City Programs

Living With Fire

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.


One of Nevada’s most pressing natural resource issues is the threat of wildfire to human life and property. Much of Nevada is considered a high fire-hazard environment, possessing the ingredients to support intense and uncontrollable wildfires. Research shows that how a house is built, the characteristics of adjacent vegetation and routine maintenance often determine which homes burn and which survive.

The importance of wildfire education was identified in a 1997 needs assessment involving local fire officials. More acres burned in Nevada during the 1990s than in the previous 40 years combined. Of the 10 worst fire seasons experienced in the state, six were in the past eight years. In 2007, more than 900,000 acres burned across Nevada — a total of 784 fires. Particularly devastating was the Angora Fire at South Lake Tahoe, burning 3,100 acres and destroying 254 homes. The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Governing Board identified avoidance of catastrophic wildfire as the top priority for the Basin.

What Has Been Done:

UNCE and its collaborators focus on pre-fire activities that reduce the wildfire threat around homes, thus improving the survivability of those homes and occupants. They provide homeowners with wildfire threat reduction recommendations developed by Nevada’s firefighting experts.

The major components of Living With Fire are:

  • Living With Fire: A Guide for the Homeowner. This book is probably the most widely distributed wildfire threat reduction publication in the nation, with more than 40 versions and 2 million copies in the U.S. and Canada. A Lake Tahoe edition was published in 2007
  • Workshop materials in English and Spanish, including a PowerPoint presentation, CD, videotapes and handouts, developed for Nevada’s most hazardous areas and vegetation types. More than 200 sets are under use by firefighting agencies. Instructional DVDs and videotapes, in English and Spanish, are available in markets, drugstores and libraries;
  • Educational workshops targeting the landscape (green) industry;
  • Multi-agency gatherings, such as the 2007 Nevada Wildland-Urban Interface Fire Summit, attended by 129 individuals and agencies from across the state, representing 68 high wildfire-hazard communities; and
  • Public-awareness activities, such as the Nevada Wildland Fire Awareness Week in May 2008, which included educational programs and release of materials statewide.

In 2005, more than $107,000 worth of in-kind services and funds from communities were documented in support of Nevada Fire Safe Council projects. The council — a byproduct of Living With Fire -- is a collection of community organizations throughout the state. Approximately $1.8 million was spent on fuels reduction projects in 18 Nevada communities, which resulted in 7,962 tons of wildfire fuels being removed and 1,089 acres treated.

In 2006 in Carson City, revegetation of burned areas was a priority. Working with UNCE, the Nevada Division of Forestry and volunteers potted 4,550 Jeffrey pines in containers for planting. Seventy-eight willows were planted to stabilize Ash Canyon Creek. One thousand trees were planted with help from the Boy Scouts, with a 50 percent survival rate. In addition, 2,200 cubic yards of fuels were reduced to 25 cubic yards of mulch for 20 property owners.

Evaluation of the 2007 Living With Fire educational programs to the green industry consisted of a certification examination after a 12-hour training session. The 28 individuals who undertook the testing passed with an average score of 88 percent. Further, 95 percent of respondents indicated they would use the information from the training and, in turn, share it with clients during the next nine months.

An evaluation of the 2007 Fire Summit was completed by 67 percent of the attendees — 72 homeowners living in high or extreme fire-hazard communities and fire service representatives responsible for protecting those communities. Sixty-three percent of respondents said they were familiar with the Living With Fire materials prior to attending the summit. The conference had an overall 4.8 rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) in terms of being worthwhile.

University of Idaho Cooperative Extension teaches a Living on the Land program, which includes a Living With Fire component. In an evaluation of this program, 44 participants had a statistically significant improvement in their knowledge of fires and defensible space as a result of the teaching of this module.


Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Association of Counties, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nevada Fire Safe Council, Nevada Insurance Council, USDA Forest Service, the Nevada Division of Emergency Management and Private Donors.

See Also: For additional information, please visit our Living With Fire Web site.

Contacts: Lindsay Chichester, Extension Educator, 775-887-2252,
Ed Smith, Area Natural Resources Specialist, 775-782-9960

Programs Program Information

4-H Youth Development

4-H is a community of young people across America learning leadership, citizenship and life skills.

Carson City Community Garden

The Community Garden began in 2001 and allows community members who don’t have room for a vegetable garden to rent a 4-by-16-foot garden bed for $20 a season at a 25-bed garden complex on Beverly Drive east of the cemetery. The price includes water, soil preparation, some seeds and fertilizer.

Family Storyteller Literacy Program

National award-winning Family Storyteller is a literacy program aimed at encouraging and training parents to play a vital role in the literacy development of their children. Developed by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), KNPB-TV, the Washoe County libraries and Washoe County School District, the statewide program creates an opportunity for parents and young children to interact around literacy and language activities. Family Storyteller is designed especially for families that may have limited language skills and few children’s books at home.

Grow Your Own, Nevada

Grow Your Own, Nevada is a statewide University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program designed to help people discover the secrets to gardening in our high-desert climate. The program includes eight two-hour weekly sessions. Classes are held live in Reno in the spring, summer and fall, and are provided by video conference to Cooperative Extension offices across the state.

Living With Fire

Living with Fire is a comprehensive, multi-agency program aimed at teaching homeowners how to live more safely in high wildfire-hazard environments. The program, encompassing research and education, was developed in 1997 as a result of a collaboration between University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE), Nevada’s Agricultural Experiment Station and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, a group of 12 Nevada and California firefighting agencies.

Master Gardeners in Nevada

Master Gardeners provide free, research-based horticulture information to Nevadans. They are volunteers who learn advanced plant science skills from at least 50 hours of classroom instruction by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) professionals. After training, Master Gardeners volunteer a minimum of at least 50 hours a year to pass along their newly acquired knowledge through the media, talks and workshops. They answer phone calls, send out informational materials and develop community gardens.

Nevada Radon Education Program

The Nevada Radon Education Program is a partnership with the Nevada State Health Division to educate Nevadans about the possible health risk posed by elevated levels of radon in the home. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) offers literature, educational programs and radon test kits in many county Extension offices.

Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month

Living With Fire logo

Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month

Living With Fire logo

Social Media Training

Extension Educator Lindsay Chichester explaining Facebook Page Best Practices to a room of people

The Greenhouse Project

The Carson City Greenhouse Project was conceptualized in November 2008 in partnership between UNCE; the Carson City Cultural Commission; The Greenhouse Project Committee, a grassroots, community organization; the Carson City School District; Nevada State Parks; and numerous volunteers. The Greenhouse Project serves as a teaching facility for hands on programs at the Carson City High School. Students help to cultivate and distribute vegetables and herbs for culinary classes and community food banks. Additional flower baskets are grown to beautify downtown Carson City.

Statewide Programs *Statewide programs may not be available in all counties

Programs Program Information
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Risk Management
Stronger Economies Together
Weed Prevention and Management