Putting Out The Fire
When it comes to wildfires in the West, there are many startling statistics.
Across 11 Western states, there are more than 60 large fires burning now, consuming more than 1.5 million acres. Nevada and California rank as two of the top 10 most wildfire-prone states in the country.
Each year, the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of the Interior spend an average of $3.4 billion to fight these types of fires. That's three times what they spent annually back in the 1990's.
With prolonged drought conditions and warmer temperatures due to climate change, officials with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District say the region's fire season, which typically spans from June to September, is now year-round. In fact, the Caughlin Ranch Fire was in November of 2011 and the Washoe Drive Fire was in December of 2012. They each burned nearly 30 homes and caused millions of dollars in damage.
For our series Putting Out the Fire, Reno Public Radio is exploring some of the innovative approaches to fighting and preventing devastating wildfires.