ELKO – County and federal officials have announced new fire restrictions effective Aug. 15 across northeastern Nevada.
The restrictions ban all sorts of outdoor fires, with the exception of charcoal and gas barbecues at private residences or in designated campgrounds and picnic areas.
No other fires will be allowed in the county or on public lands or roads managed by the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service in the Elko District, which includes all of Elko County and northern Eureka and Lander counties.
The BLM reported that the “Stage 1” fire restrictions are in response to the exceptional dry summer, heavy fuel loads, increased fire activity throughout the area, and continuing hot dry weather forecasts.
Another reason is the anticipated increase of visitors to the area for hunting season, stated Clint Mothershead, fire mitigation and education specialist with the BLM.
“These restrictions will be in effect until the area receives significant precipitation, lasting possibly into November,” he said.
Twenty-eight wildfires have been reported in the Elko District over the past two weeks, in addition to the 16,000-acre Corta Fire in the Ruby Mountains.
The county banned open burning on July 1 and asked residents at the time to also not burn in barrels. The new ban includes barrels, bonfires, recreational fires, warming fires, cooking fires and portable outdoor fireplaces in unincorporated parts of the county.
The “Stage 1” fire restrictions on public land prohibit:
— Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, campfire, charcoal barbecue or stove fire outside of a developed fee campground or picnic area (except by special use permit). This order excludes portable stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel.
— Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or at a developed campground or picnic area.
— Operating vehicles or other motorized equipment off existing paved, gravel or dirt roads. This includes all combustion engines without a spark arrestor on public lands within the Elko District and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.
— Welding or operating an acetylene torch with open flames, except by permit.
— Using, or causing to be used, any explosive, except by permit.
— Possession or use of fireworks (always prohibited) or any other incendiary device.
— Use of tracer rounds, steel-core ammunition, or exploding targets, including Binary Explosive Targets while recreational shooting.
Campfires are still permitted at South Fork State Park, Wildhorse Reservoir, the Zunino Reservoir Recreation Area, Tabor Creek Recreation Area, and campsites at the Ruby Lake Refuge.
To report a fire, call Elko Interagency Dispatch Center at 775-748-4000, or dial 911.
For more information on fire restrictions visit nevadafireinfo.org. Contact the Elko County Fire Protection District at 775-738-9960 with any questions regarding open burning or preparing your property for wildfires.