“Thing are looking good,” Greg Deimel said Wednesday as he talked about the fire season so far in the Elko area, and he knocked on a nearby table.
“We had no fires at all on the Fourth of July,” said Deimel, the Elko Bureau of Land Management public affairs officer. “That’s great news. Everyone observed the rules … That’s excellent that they did that.”
Deimel said there were three lightning fires in the Elko region before the Fourth of July, and there have been a few human caused fires, including a July 8 fire in Spring Creek which burned two acres and was fully contained in less than an hour.
“That’s way better than last year and even the year before,” Deimel said. “There have been less fires of all types, lightning or human caused, and way, way smaller acreage. The bad news is, we’re starting to dry out. We knew that was going to come eventually; it’s just a matter of when.”
The BLM said Wednesday that from July 4 through last weekend they responded to a total of 28 fires in Nevada. The largest fire was the Buffalo Fire which burned nearly 10 square miles of remote rangeland about 20 miles west of Battle Mountain. The blaze was reported Saturday morning on the east side of the Buffalo Mountains south of Interstate 80 about 67 miles southeast of Winnemucca. The BLM said Wednesday that the fire had been contained.
There were no reports of injuries or structure damage. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Summer has been a little slow in arriving this year, but temperatures are currently up into the 90s.
“Now there’s very little moisture except in isolated places within the district, so we know we’re starting to dry out, and we expect fire danger to go up as we do dry out,” Deimel said.
Currently, some Elko-area firefighters are in other parts of the country helping to fight fires. Soon, people from other parts of the county will be coming to the Elko area.
“We’re watching things very closely as things dry out,” Deimel said. “As we head toward warmer weather we’ll probably start bringing on additional resources as we have every year for the last few years, to have additional help on hand. If for some reason we don’t need them we’ll send them somewhere else, but unfortunately the last couple years we’ve needed all the resources we’ve brought in.”
This Friday the Silver State Stampede kicks off at the Elko County Fairgrounds, and Friday night will be fire awareness night at the rodeo.
“There will be folks there to answer any questions about defensible space and wildland fires,” Deimel said. “If we don’t have fires going on we will have firefighters there along with other folks to answer questions that people have.”
The Northeast Nevada Fire Prevention Group has sponsored the rodeo’s jumbo screen for the evening, and there will be fire public service announcements.
Last year during the Silver State Stampede a fire broke out near Last Chance Road and people could see the smoke from the grandstands. Hopefully something like that won’t happen again this year.
Toward the end of July Smokey Bear will be visiting the Ruby Mountain Balloon Festival for the second year in a row. Smokey is celebrating his 75th year of helping to promote fire prevention awareness.
“It’s a big thing to get Smokey back to Elko for the 75th anniversary,” Deimel said.
In the weeks ahead the Elko Daily Free Press will feature a series of stories on fire danger and fire preparedness.