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Wildfire Awareness Run raises $10,000 for Wildland Firefighter Foundation

Posted 7/18/2016

Race Results

Participants in the annual Nevada Wildfire Awareness Half Marathon and 5K Runs ran in both Washoe and Clark counties to bring awareness to fire danger and to raise funds for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. Photo courtesy of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

Funds help provide assistance to fallen firefighters’ families and to firefighters injured in the line of duty

Participants in the annual Wildfire Awareness Half Marathon and 5K Runs in Washoe and Clark counties raised more than $10,000 for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. The races, hosted by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s Living With Fire Program, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, Washoe County Parks, U.S. Forest Service and Desert Sky Adventures, were part of Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month in May.

“We deal with such sorrow, with firefighters burned and disfigured, and some who don’t come home to their families,” Vicki Minor, executive director for the foundation, said. “Teaching people how to prepare their homes and prevent firefighters from risking their lives is important.”

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to fallen firefighters’ families and to firefighters injured in the line of duty. The proceeds of the race will help families travel to see firefighters who were injured while aiding another state; help the families of firefighters unable to work because they’re still healing; and help the families of firefighters killed while working.

During the races, participants ran through some of Nevada’s most infamous wildfire fuels, such as big sagebrush, bitterbrush, cheatgrass and rabbitbrush. There were also displays of educational information, fire engines and a visit from Smokey Bear.

The northern race was held in Washoe County’s Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, and the southern race was held near the U.S. Forest Service’s Spring Mountains Visitor Gateway at Mt. Charleston.

“We are thankful to the Bureau of Land Management as the major sponsor for these race events and to all those runners who participated,” said Cooperative Extension Marketing Specialist Sonya Sistare, who co-manages the Living With Fire Program with Natural Resources Specialist Ed Smith. “Not only did we raise funds for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, but participants also had the opportunity to visit with local fire agencies and learn how to prepare for the next wildfire.”

Wildfire Awareness Month is a collaborative effort by local, state and federal firefighting agencies, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and many others. The event promoted this year’s wildfire awareness message, “Create Unity - Fire Adapt Your Community,” encouraging residents to work together with their neighbors to take action now to prepare their homes, properties and entire community to increase their likelihood of surviving future wildfires.

Cooperative Extension’s Living With Fire Program, which began in 1998, teaches homeowners how to live more safely with the wildfire threat. The program has received numerous national awards, and been credited with spurring actions that have saved many homes. For more information about Living With Fire, visit http://www.livingwithfire.info/, or contact Sistare at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, sistares@unce.unr.edu or 775-336-0271.

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