Bumper crop of cheatgrass raises Nevada wildfire concerns

GARDNERVILLE — A wet winter has produced a bumper crop of invasive cheatgrass that fire officials in northern Nevada expect will dry out and become prime fuel for the smallest of sparks during a hot, dry wildfire season ahead.

Battalion Chief Larry Goss of the East Fork Fire District tells The (Gardnerville) Record-Courier the potential exists this summer for large, low-elevation wind-driven grass fires.

Officials say the winter was among the wettest in northern Nevada in more than a century.

State and federal land managers told Gov. Brian Sandoval last week they’re also preparing for high fire danger.

Goss says the Pine Nut Mountains are especially vulnerable this year, due to a combination of grassy fuels and stressed piñon trees.

East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini advises homeowners to clear foliage to create defensible space around houses.

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