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Douglas County 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.

Issue:

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.
Impact:

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.

Partners:

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

Eagles and Agriculture

The seven-year-old Eagles and Agriculture program promotes the benefits agriculture provides wildlife and the community in western Nevada. The program enhances participant knowledge of wildlife habitat and local agriculture.

Green Industry Training Programs of Northern Nevada

Green Industry Training (GIT) and Green Industry Continuing Education Series (GICES) are cost- and time-efficient approaches to serving the Green Industries of northern Nevada, including nursery workers, landscapers, arborists, irrigation and lawn care professionals. The Green Industry Training program begins in late winter with eight three-hour sessions of entry-level training for new industry workers, for those desiring to work in the industry and for existing industry professionals desiring a skills "tune-up." After "basic training," industry members are invited to monthly continuing education opportunities — one hour per month over the noon hour — to hone and improve their skills.

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS)

Healthy Eating Active Living: Mapping Attributes using Participatory Photographic Surveys (HEAL MAPPS) is a compilation of evidence-based engagement and assessment tools that is used to audit and map community environmental features that support and/or hinder healthful eating and physical activity among community members. The MAPPS method integrates photography, participatory community mapping using global positioning system (GPS) technology, and residents’ voiced perceptions of their community. HEAL MAPPS engages people in community-based participatory research to document attributes of the rural community environment that are perceived by residents as obesity preventing or promoting and assess the local resources and readiness to implement community-level obesity prevention strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain/overweight and obesity among children and their families.

Keeping Kids Safe: Recognizing, Reporting, and Responding to Child Maltreatment

Preventing child abuse and neglect is a high priority in Elko County. Child caregivers, youth workers, volunteers and anyone interested in learning what they can do to prevent child abuse and neglect can attend this workshop. Participants learn how to recognize signs and symptoms of child abuse and neglect, understand their reporting requirements and their role in preventing child maltreatment.

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

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.

Processing and Marketing of Local Meat Products: A Feasibility Analysis

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed a feasibility study to find ways to improve financial stability for Nevada livestock producers through processing and niche marketing.

Risk Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) develops and delivers a comprehensive risk management education program to livestock and forage producers in Nevada.

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

Programs Program Information
4-H Youth Development
Beef Quality Assurance
Cattlemen’s Update
Food Safety Project
Grow Your Own, Nevada
Herds and Harvest
Invasive Species (Weeds)
Nevada Radon Education Program
Nevada State GEAR UP
Nevada Youth Range Camp
People of the Land
Pesticide Safety Education Program
Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management
Stronger Economies Together
Unmanned Aerial Systems
Weed Prevention and Management