Governor Sisolak convenes Nevada’s 2022 Wildland Fire Briefing with local, state, and federal partners

CARSON CITY, NV – May 05, 2022

Today, Governor Steve Sisolak convened Nevada’s annual Wildland Fire Briefing, which brought together dozens of local, state, and federal wildfire response and natural resource officials from around Nevada to discuss the outlook for the upcoming fire season, partnership efforts focused on creating fire-resilient landscapes and fire-adapted communities, and opportunities to further reduce wildfire risk statewide.

“Wildfires don't stop at jurisdictional boundaries and have become an existential threat throughout Nevada. With the sweeping impacts of climate change, drought, extreme heat, and invasive annual grasses fueling both the frequency and intensity of wildfires across the west, we must do more than ever to maintain healthy forests and rangelands while creating fire-adapted communities in all corners of the state,” said Governor Sisolak. “As highlighted at today’s Wildland Fire Briefing, achieving this goal at the pace and scale needed takes coordination and collaboration at all levels of government. I applaud our multi-agency partners for working together to foster a vibrant, fire-resilient Nevada.”

Key themes and highlights from the Governor’s 2022 Wildland Fire Briefing include:

  • Notably, in 2021, 610 fires burned 134,145 acres in Nevada, while 226,367 acres were treated and restored to create healthier landscapes and significantly reduce wildfire risks. Last year, for the first time in over a decade, more acres were successfully treated than burned by wildfires in Nevada.
  • In 2021, the largest fires were the Tamarack Fire (69,000 acres burned in Nevada and California) and the Cherrywood Fire in Nye County (26,000 acres burned). Consistent with the past two years, Nevada’s significant fire potential for 2022 is forecast to be "average" to “above average” in terms of severity and total acres burned.
  • The wildfire season in Nevada and across the Western US is consistently starting earlier and continuing later each year. Climate change, cycles of prolonged drought, and extremely dry landscapes are considered key drivers of this trend. Hotter temperatures, reduced snowpack, and earlier spring snowmelt create longer and more intense dry seasons that increase moisture stress on vegetation, and make forests and rangelands more susceptible to severe, widespread wildfire.
  • Nevada is anticipating a third year of drought. As of late April, every county in the state is experiencing drought. Persistent drought conditions are expected to exacerbate the threat of wildfire throughout the 2022 fire season.
  • Last summer, Las Vegas experienced record-high temperatures, while much of Northern Nevada experienced the worst air quality on record from wildfire smoke that funneled in from the massive California fires. Ahead of fire season, Nevadans are encouraged to prepare for potential wildfire, air quality, and extreme heat impacts by following local, state, and federal guidance:
  • To reduce wildfire risk statewide, in 2019, Governor Sisolak and the primary state and federal natural resource and wildfire management agencies signed the Nevada Shared Stewardship Agreement. Together, the multi-agency Shared Stewardship partners have proactively identified and successfully restored tens of thousands of the highest priority areas that are at greatest risk of wildfire, on both public and private land. These efforts are set to increase substantially over the next five years.
  • Human activities are the number one cause of wildfire starts. Last year, 363 fires were caused by people, while 247 were sparked by natural causes like lightning. As such, residents and landowners are urged to help protect their families, homes, pets, and neighborhoods by following all fire restrictions, recreating responsibly, creating fire-resilient landscaping around their properties, and hardening their homes. 

The Governor was joined by officials from the:

  • Nevada Department of Conservation and Natural Resources,
  • Nevada Division of Forestry,
  • Nevada Division of Water Resources,
  • Nevada Division of Emergency Management, 
  • Nevada Fire Chiefs Association, 
  • Nevada State Fire Marshall, 
  • Nevada National Guard,
  • Nevada Indian Commission,
  • University of Nevada Reno and Cooperative Extension, 
  • US Bureau of Land Management, 
  • US Forest Service,
  • US Fish and Wildlife Service, and 
  • National Interagency Fire Center.

A few photos of the briefing are attached.