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Caughlin and Washoe Fire joint restoration efforts



Just a few months after two major wildfires devastated the area, local agencies come together to kick-start restoration. Protecting watershed and preventing erosion on both private and public properties is key to recovering from a wild land urban interface fire.

Emergency crews and local Burn Area Emergency Rehabilitation teams responded immediately following the two recent fires, Caughlin and Washoe, working to provide vital erosion control and protection of the community’s water resources. The flames have since been extinguished, but the combined agency efforts of recovery professionals still continue.

Local BAER teams have been established for both fires. The Washoe Fire BAER team has already completed initial assessments and planning efforts. Below is a summary of recovery work and preventative measures in the area:

  • The week of Jan. 30, rehabilitation teams consisting of Washoe County Public Works roads personnel, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office work crews and Nevada Division of Forestry crews removed hazardous trees and cleaned debris out of natural drainage ways such as Galena Creek to reduce the chance of flooding.The first week in February, small specialized teams assessed the wildlife, hydrologic, vegetation and infrastructure damage within the fire area.
  • Contractors (Fisher Industries) continue to work within Nevada Department of Transportation right-of-ways to repair portions of the I-580 construction project that were destroyed in the fire.
  • In the Montreaux area, contractors will be working on fuel reduction projects to reduce the threat of future wildfires. The Bureau of Land Management quickly reacted to reseed 555 acres burned in the Washoe Fire on February 6, 2012.
  • Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space and the Nevada Land Conservancy submitted a grant funding request to the Truckee River Fund for stream restoration on Steamboat, Galena and Bower’s Creeks. The $145,000 grant request was submitted on February 9, 2012./li>
  • “The collaborative effort of local, state and federal agencies, non-profits, local businesses and interested citizens reflect on the nature of our community to come together during and after an emergency. The recovery process for both the Washoe and Caughlin Fires began before the fires were extinguished and will continue with community support,” said Cheryl Surface with Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space, and the incident commander for the Washoe Fire recovery effort.
  • In the Caughlin Fire area, City of Reno Public Works crews, local contractors, Washoe County and BAER team members have been working diligently in tandem with the Nevada Land Conservancy to reduce threats of erosion in priority areas. They have already made significant progress.
  • Immediately after the fire, the Nevada Land Conservancy, Reno Public Works, City of Reno Attorney’s Office and Washoe County Regional Parks and Open Space staff submitted an emergency grant proposal to the Truckee River Fund for stabilization of the burned area. The team was awarded $219,856 to be used for emergency restoration measures.
  • City of Reno Public Works engineers designed check dams to catch sediment washing off the steep burned slopes. The dams were installed on the bottom of Manzanita Canyon by crews prior to Christmas.
  • Emergency access roads used by utility companies in the Manzanita drainage were restored.
  • Nevada Department of Transportation donated 1,800 feet of barrier rail to Washoe County for placement on Lakeside drive for erosion control.
  • Nevada Division of Forestry crews assisted Washoe County in removing burned brush and trees along Lake Ditch and Last Chance Ditch in Bartley Ranch Regional Park.
  • Using savings from another American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded project, Washoe County treated over 26 acres of burned hillside at Bartley Ranch Regional Park with a pre-emergent herbicide to control invasive and noxious weeds and removed approximately 25 large hazardous trees.
  • The Nevada Land Conservancy hydroseeded five private properties above Windy Hill.
  • Washoe County American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Funds are being used for the Meadowridge Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project, a 6.5-acre fuel reduction project near the intersection of Lakeside Drive and South McCarran Blvd. The project includes channel clearing, herbicide application and debris removal.

In addition to work already completed in the Caughlin Fire area, erosion control teams evaluated and recommended measures for preventing further erosion in Manzanita Canyon. Beginning mid February, the project in Manzanita will include installing over two miles of sediment logs, hydroseeding 14 acres and installing 650 linear feet of willow wattles. The work is being coordinated by the Nevada Land Conservancy and the City of Reno.

“The Caughlin Fire response addresses wildfire and erosion threats on both private and public property within the burn area. This interagency fire response and recovery teams have been successful in meeting the initial needs of the community and continuing the long term recovery process,” commented Kyle West, City of Reno Training and Safety Manager and co-incident commander for the Caughlin Fire recovery response.

In addition to erosion control measures, emergency and public safety personnel patrolled both burn areas to watch for flash flooding during recent storm events. The University of Nevada, Reno – Living with Fire program provides information on protecting homes and lives in fire prone areas. For information on upcoming presentations, please visit www.livingwithfire.com .

For more information on Caughlin Fire, Washoe Fire emergency response or restoration, including links for community support, please visit: www.washoecounty.us/index/emergency.html www.reno.gov/caughlinfire www.washoecounty.us/mgrsoff/caughlinfire.html

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