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Programs

Natural Resources Programs

Living With Fire

Be Ember Aware publication

“Be Ember Aware!” is Living With Fire’s most popular publication. Photo by AP Images.

Multiagency program teaches Nevadans how to live more safely in high-wildfire-hazard environments

Relevance/Issue

One of Nevada’s most pressing natural resource issues is the threat of wildfire to human life and property. During the 1990s, more acres burned in Nevada than in the previous 40 years combined. Much of Nevada is considered a high-wildfire-hazard environment, possessing all the ingredients necessary to support intense, uncontrollable wildfires. And within this environment, are homes, subdivisions and entire communities. Unfortunately, many homeowners are not prepared to survive wildfire. Research indicates that pre-fire activities performed by the homeowner, such as creating defensible space, removing debris from rain gutters, and screening vents, significantly improve home survivability. Prior to the Living With Fire Program, there was no organized effort to teach Nevadans how to reduce the wildfire threat. Consequently, it was unlikely that they would implement the practices necessary to reduce this threat to their families, properties and communities.

Response/What’s Been Done

Extension created the multiagency Living With Fire Program in 1997 to teach Nevadans how to live more safely in high-wildfire-hazard environments. Additionally, Nevada Wildfire Awareness Week/Month was established in 2014 as a means to expand outreach efforts with a coordinated, statewide campaign. The Living With Fire Program has received multiple regional and national awards, including the Great Basin Fire Mitigation, Education and Prevention Award in 2016. Program materials and social media have been used in 25 other states and in 25 countries. Program activities in 2017 included: distributing educational materials, organizing and conducting community workshops, promoting wildfire-threat-reduction techniques at community events, maintaining a comprehensive wildfire-threat-reduction website targeting Nevada residents, and supporting an organization that brings Nevada stakeholders together to create fire adapted communities.

Results/Impact and Partners

2017 statewide results include:

  • Distributed 18,426 copies of 18 different publications.
  • There were 19,427 online visits to view 43 different publications and educational tools, including nine to Spanish-language publications.
  • Granted permission to 13 entities from 10 states to use program materials.
  • Presented exhibits at 10 events.
  • Presented The Ember House and Juniper Toss youth activities at 24 events, resulting in 1,653 direct contacts.
  • Conducted three radio interviews and nine television interviews, plus there were three additional television broadcasts mentioning the program.
  • Delivered 16 wildfire-threat-reduction presentations to 475 individuals.
  • Gained new followers on Facebook, now totaling 878 followers located in 10 Nevada counties, eight states and 25 countries.
  • Collaborated with 220 entities (27 percent increase over 2016).

The Nevada Network of Fire Adapted Communities Membership and Advisory Board met five times and increased membership by 24 percent for a total of 207, including 172 community members and 35 partner members. In addition, 12 issues of The Network Pulse electronic newsletters were produced and distributed to 661 active contacts, a 9 percent increase over 2016. The Network also provided assistance to ArrowCreek Homeowners Association, Lakeview, Mound House, Palomino Valley, River Mount Park, Skyland and West Washoe. The Network annual conference had 105 participants from 10 Nevada counties. Of the participants who submitted a post-conference evaluation, 88 percent indicated that they were going to take some form of action as result of attending the event.

Partners included Bureau of Land Management ; Nevada Division of Forestry ; U.S. Forest Service ; Nevada State Fire Marshal Division ; local, state and federal firefighting agencies; public safety agencies; community organizations and local businesses.

Public Value Statement

Living With Fire materials have been used in 25 states and 25 countries. Past program awards include National Wildfire Mitigation Award (2015), W. K. Kellogg Foundation Engagement Awards Exemplary Project (2012), Excellence in Extension ― National Award Winner (2006), Excellence in Community Assistance ― National Fire Plan Award (2004), and USDA Honor Award (2002).

IMPACTS




475

people taught about wildfire-threat-reduction at 16 presentations in 2017



18,426

copies of 18 different publications distributed in 2017



88%

of 2017 conference attendees indicated they were going to take some form of action as a result of attending the event



"You should have seen all of the calls I was getting from the incident management teams wanting Living With Fire’s ‘Be Ember Aware!’ handouts. Definitely the most popular handout up here."

— Jordan Koppen, with the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, who was assisting incident teams and communities threatened by wildfires throughout the state in summer 2017. Nevada helped by rushing 7,900 copies of the publication to Montana.


Contacts:

Natural Resources Programs

Programs Program Information

Bootstraps

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) developed Bootstraps, a high-risk youth program that helps teens return to school and/or gain meaningful work.

Collaborative Resource Stewardship improves rangeland management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) has helped lead Collaborative Resource Stewardship (CRS) efforts in northeastern Nevada over the past seven years, resulting in a model for other states and areas.

Eagles & Agriculture

Two eagles standing with cattle in a field

Integrated Pest Management

Nevada Department of Agriculture’s records show the use of traditional pesticides continues to increase in the state. Nevada’s Integrated Pest Management (IPM) program helps agricultural producers, land managers; pest control operators, homeowners and other pest managers learn about and use alternative pest management strategies in a variety of environments and settings.

Invasive Species (Weeds)

Weeds are one of the most serious threats to Nevada rangelands and lawns. Hundreds of Weed Warriors, Woad Warriors, and other volunteers have been trained by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) personnel in how to spot, control and eradicate noxious weeds.

Living on the Land: Stewardship for Small Acreages

Issue:

Living With Fire

Be Ember Aware publication

NEMO Nevada, Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials

The NEMO (Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials) program was originated in Connecticut and has spread nationwide. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension offers the NEMO program in Washoe County. The premise is that improvements in land-use planning can result in protection of water resources, which can negate the need to fix problems after the fact by applying best management practices. The program will help land-use decision-makers understand the nature of the nonpoint source pollution problem and its impact on their lives, towns and natural resource base. This enables them to plan for growth and development while addressing water quality issues through educated land use decisions.

Nevada Naturalist

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) in collaboration with partnering agencies including Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Henderson Bird Viewing Preserve, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Springs Preserve, Wetlands Park, Nevada State Museum, and others, has developed a comprehensive environmental education curricula targeting adult learners interested in environmental issues affecting southern Nevada.

Nevada Range Management School

This University of Nevada Cooperative Extension program integrates sound science, collaboration and common sense to put public agency land managers, livestock permittees and other land users on the same page in terms of the range resource. It includes topics such as animal nutrition as related to range management.

Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month

Living With Fire logo

Nevada Youth Range Camp

High school students looking at sagebrush during a snowfall

Noxious Weed Control and Awareness Education

Noxious and invasive weeds are widespread throughout Nevada. They threaten agricultural and rangeland productivity. Rural counties are susceptible to significant adverse economic damage. University of Nevada Cooperative Extension education programs help individuals and weed control organization reduce the abundance of noxious weeds.

Riparian and Watershed Assessment and Management

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension faculty work on an interagency and interdisciplinary cadre that puts on Riparian Proper Function Condition Assessment trainings and works with agencies and watershed groups to develop collaboration about riparian management.

Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge through Education

Walker Lake, located in central Nevada, is a natural resource of interest to diverse and often competing groups. Walker Lake: Increasing Knowledge Through Education, is a community-based program to educate adults and youth about Walker Lake issues.

Water Wise

Water Wise is a new, online educational program that complements University of Nevada Cooperative Extension’s local watershed protection, storm water protection and land-use decision-maker education projects (NEMO-Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials).

Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training

The Weed Warriors Invasive Weed Training Program is held several times a year, usually in late winter or spring. This eight-hour, two-day introductory-level training introduces participants to the principles of Integrated Weed Management and focuses on improving ability to identify noxious weeds of local importance. A small fee is charged for program materials, and the class can be videoconferenced to other locations upon request. Each year, several dozen people go through the training and become certified Weed Warriors. Pesticide applicators receive six Continuing Education Credits for attending this course. Each year in May during a community event in the Truckee Meadows, Weed Warrior volunteers help rid parks and riverfront areas of invasive thistles.