NLT’s involvement in both fires began just as the smoke cleared, as members of the BAER (Burn Area Emergency Recovery) team.
The NLT Restoration team has been busy working in the area of Fire Restoration since the catastrophic Caughlin Fire of November 2011 and the Washoe Drive Fire of January 2012. The Caughlin Fire burned 1,945 acres with the number of structures destroyed or damaged at 42. Of the 1,946 acres burned almost 60% or 1,669 was private property. The Washoe Drive Fire burned 3,177 acres and damaged or destroyed 29 homes and structures. Both fires had similar erratic fire behavior and occurred under extremely windy conditions with gusts over 60 MPH and a mix of dry grass and shrubs for fuel. The Caughlin Fire in particular was extremely dangerous as it was a Wildland Urban Interface fire which jumped a major fire break (McCarran Boulevard) in Reno and burned down through canyons and drainages lined by houses.
NLT’s involvement in both fires began just as the smoke cleared, as members of the BAER (Burn Area Emergency Recovery) team, we were involved in on the ground damage assessments to natural resources (wildlife, vegetation, hydrology, soils), engineering issues, (erosion, unstable slopes) and safety issues. Once damage assessments were completed, NLT staff pursued funding sources to begin immediate work on the ground for public safety and attenuating natural resource damage before the approaching winter storms. Through the cooperation and funding efforts of NLT and it’s partners, City of Reno, Washoe County, Truckee River Fund, NV Energy, Wells Fargo, World Properties, the Community Foundation of Western Nevada , NV Department of Wildlife and numerous individuals, sufficient funds were raised to implement and complete the BAER team recommendations on both fires.
Because of the all the private land involved in both fires, NLT staff worked closely with private property owners to gain right of entry onto their property to do work, provide seed and communication to damaged parcels and help property owners in other ways by getting them in communication with the appropriate agency.
Work on both fires continued by NLT staff writing all the necessary bid documents to contract out the restoration work on both fires, oversee the restoration work until completed, working with volunteer groups to help in the restoration and monitor the results. Much of the completed involved the installation of sediment logs for erosion control, willow wattles, planting of willow stakes, native riparian plants, drill seeding, hydroseeding, hand broadcast seeding and chain harrowing and weed eradication work. Work has just been successfully completed (December 2013) on both of the fires.
NLT has worked on additional fire restoration work dating back to 2005-2010, with the Hawken Fire, the Peavine Fire and working as a partner with Washoe County Regional Parks & Open Space on a 3.8 million dollar American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for seven local fire restoration projets.