Little Valley Burn

Project Description

The Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), in cooperation with the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) will conduct a 3-5 day prescribed burn of fuels in the Whittell Forest, approximately 20 miles south of Reno, in late September or early October 2016. Approximately 250 acres (in five units) will be burned to:

  • Maintain important meadow ecosystem by removing conifer encroachment and heavy matting layer of grass;
  • Reintroduce fire into this fire dependent landscape that has not experienced fire for over 100 years;
  • Create open, park like stands and kill 90% of natural regeneration in the timbered portion of the units;
  • Reduce heavy duff layers by 80% throughout units 1,2,4 and 5;
  • Sanitize the stand to remove 50% of the western gall rust in infected trees in units 1 and two; and,
  • Minimize mortality in the scattered sagebrush and bitterbrush that is found in small pockets in all five units.

The project ties into adjacent U.S. Forest Service property and fuel reduction projects that will provide for a partial shaded fuel break along the ridge lines on the west end of Washoe Valley, with the Franktown Road and associated subdivisions benefitting from defensive space approximately 2 air miles west of homes and structures.

Smoke Impacts

With winds expected to be S/SW, the smoke from the prescribed burn is expected to move NE, potentially affecting Washoe Valley and South Reno.

Background Information

The Forest is owned by the University of Nevada, Reno:

NDF has been actively involved with UNR in completing fuels deduction work for 15 years.

Research Information

UNR and the Desert Research Institute are planning to study the forest’s condition before, during and after the burn, researching environmental affects to vegetation and soil, as well as impacts on individual species, including insects. 

Project Funding

The project is funded by an $89,600 Hazardous Fuels Reduction grant from the U.S. Forest Service.


Project location map can be downloaded here.

Burn unit maps can be downloaded here.

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