Little Valley Burn Updates
Updates for the current status of the Little Valley Burn will be posted here as they become available. For the most up to the minute information, search #LittleValleyBurn on Twitter or call 775-849-2500 ext. 252. For Washoe Valley air quality information visit OurCleanAir.com.
Crews have been patrolling and securing the perimeters of the burn units since Saturday. Smoke and heat within 100 feet of the burn unit perimeters has been extinguished. The burn will be patrolled over the next several weeks to ensure that no embers are wind blown out of the units.
208 acres total were treated; there are approximately 41 acres remaining that will be treated next fall to complete the project. The Rx burn met the resource objectives: heavy duff layers were reduced; meadow ecosystems were maintained by removing conifer encroachment and heavy matting layers of grass; fire was reintroduced into fire dependent landscape that has not experienced fire in over 100 years; 50% of western gull rust infected trees were sanitized and more open, park like timber stands were created.
10/7/16 – Updated at 3:30pm
Due to changes in predicted weather patterns, the Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), in consultation with the Washoe County Health Department’s Air Quality Management Division, has decided to end the prescribed burn today, after completing treatment at the meadow in Little Valley. NDF’s burn today is to secure the treated areas; once ignition has begun, it must proceed to a point that eliminates the risk of an escape. With insufficient wind to lift smoke and cold evening temperatures that pull smoke down to valley floors, particulate matter from smoke could adversely affect residents who have asthma or other existing respiratory issues.
State Forester/Firewarden Joe Freeland says, “We appreciate everyone’s patience and support throughout this project and while we knew there would be smoke impacts, especially to folks in the immediate area of the burn, we did not expect winds to drop and create an unacceptable air quality issue. We encourage those with respiratory issues to stay indoors this afternoon and tonight and we will manage smoke impacts in the future with the knowledge we’ve gained from this burn.”
Foresters will patrol the area of the burn for weeks to hold and mop up until a significant season ending rain or snow occurs.
Yesterday 15 acres in Unit 4 and 3 acres in Unit 5 were completed. Today crews plan to complete work in Unit 1. Smoke can be expected again today. Wildfire had been a part of the ecosystem in the Sierra until fire suppression efforts began in the early part of the 20th century. Prescribed fires have a variety of positive impacts. Along with reducing the risk of a ‘mega wildfire’, it also allows the surviving plants and trees to thrive. It helps recycle nutrients and thins the forest by killing some of the vegetation, and the vegetation that’s left behind has more room to grow. Personnel from Desert Research Institute are collaborating with NDF on this project to study forest health, plant life and even insects.
10/6/16 – The Little Valley Rx Burn is well in prescription and will continue today. Good progress was made yesterday; 90 acres in Unit 2 and 10 acres in Unit 1 were successfully treated. An unexpected weather inversion caused a lot of smoke to settle in the Basin and valleys; unfortunately, it appears we may have more of the same today and tonight. This project has several resource objectives. The first is to re-introduce fire into this fire dependent landscape that has been excluded for more than 100 years. There is a meadow ecosystem that will be treated to remove conifer encroachment and remove a heavy matting of grass and sedges which has accumulated over the last 50 years since livestock grazing was excluded.
10/5/2016 – Both land and aerial recons confirm everything is going according to prescription. Smoke is visible from Carson City and surrounding areas. (Updated at 3:30 pm)
Yesterday’s operation was successful. Unit 3 (10 acres) was competed. Heavy down timber within Unit 2 was addressed (20 acres). Today, weather is optimal for prescription burn and NDF plans to complete Unit 2 (15 acres) and the SE section of Unit 1. Winds are expected to be 6-10 mph – north by northwest. Burning is expected to continue throughout the morning and afternoon and smoke is expected to be visible in the area due to pockets of heavy fuel.
10/4/2016 – For a look at the Little Valley Rx Burn from the Carson City Live web cam on top of the Nevada Appeal building on Mallory Way, click here.
Due to precipitation on Monday, fuels were too wet to begin burn. Today, weather conditions are forecast to be optimal for prescription burning. Winds are expected to be 8-12 mph – west by northwest and smoke is expected to be visible in the area of the burn. The fire crews will begin with Unit 2 and move to Unit 3 if conditions allow. Helicopter activity may also be seen throughout the day. Resources at the scene include: Approximately 110 personal, 3 crews, 4 engines, 1 water tender and NDF Helicopter 405.
10/3/2016 – at the 8:30 am briefing this morning it was announced that the Little Valley Rx Burn will be rescheduled to begin tomorrow.