NOS Mission

Nevada Outdoor School inspires exploration of the natural world, responsible stewardship of our habitat and dedication to community.
This is the spot for us to share stories, fun ideas or general musings. When you aren't in here, we hope to see you out there!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Be Careful with Fire

The other day as I was driving through Reno, I noticed the guy in the car in front of me flick a cigarette out the window.  Unfortunately, this is something I see quite common, but with the current state of wildfires in the Western United States, this particular incident made me growl more than usual.  Then I noticed the license plate, Illinois.  We’ll skip over the fact that this guy is a litter bug, that’s a topic for another post, but he might also be ignorant of the fire dangers posed by a hot, drier than average summer in the driest state in the country.  The statistics go back and forth a bit, but humans are responsible for about four times* as many wildfires each year as lightning.  Looking out the window of my office today, the horizon is once again hazy with smoke, so I thought we might as well look at some of the ways that we can be careful with fire while recreating.

1.       Know the regulations where you are going.  Most state and federally managed lands post fire restrictions at certain times of year.  Right now, there are campfire bans across the board throughout the west.  I know many of us look forward to the campfire when camping or backpacking, but please think about the potential consequences of a mishap.

2.       Minimize campfire impacts.  At times and in areas where you can have a fire, keep them small and easily managed.  Use existing fire rings and make sure flammable vegetation is cleared from around the area.  Do not leave fires unattended and make sure your fires are dead-out before turning in for the night.

3.       Dispose of waste properly.  I’m talking about cigarettes here.  If you are planning to do more outdoor adventuring, sounds like a good time to quit to me.  However, if you must, make sure to extinguish your butts appropriately and please pack them out.

4.       Be careful where you park.  The first thing we all want to do after a long drive out to our favorite recreation destination is get out and explore, right?  That’s great, but first be careful about where you leave your vehicle.  Every year many fires are started when someone parks their truck, car, ATV, etc… in some dry grass or weeds.  Those exhaust pipes and catalytic converters get very hot and you could lose your ride home plus a whole lot more.  Another tip, even if you find a nice un-vegetated spot to stop, if you’ve driven through any tall grass or weeds on the way to your destination, check under your car for anything that may have gotten hung up underneath.

These are just a few tips.  There are many additional, creative ways that people have discovered to start wildfires, so be careful, use your head and we can all still have fun out there.


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