Wildland fire has been and will continue to be one of the most important agents of change in the western United States. Land use, management practices, and climate change have increased the fire frequency, size, and severity over the past 150 years. Small, isolated fish and wildlife populations are the most susceptible to wildfire, however, even wide ranging species, such as sage grouse, are negatively impacted from wildfire. The National Fire Plan 2000), Healthy Forests Initiative (2002), and the Healthy Forest Restoration Act (2003) have all been initiated to enable state and federal firefighting agencies to tackle wildfire related issues.
The Nevada Fish & Wildlife Office's Fire Program revolves around fire suppression, fire rehabilitation, and fuels treatments. We emphasize pre-fire season planning with the fire fighting agencies to minimize negative effects from fire suppression activities to fish, wildlife and their habitats. Fuels reduction, thinning, and fuel breaks are common projects which help to minimize fire frequency, size, and severity. We participate in the planning, implementation, and effectiveness monitoring of these projects to minimize impacts and validate effectiveness of the projects.
We perform emergency consultations during and after a wildfire to determine the effectiveness of the pre-fire season planning and evaluate species impacted by the wildfire. We are a member of Burned Area Emergency Rehabilitation Teams (BAER Team) established during a wildfire to assist in minimizing the negative effects from wildfires. The BAER Team recommends post-wildfire rehabilitation that will reduce the impacts to species and their habitats because of increased erosion potential and invasion of noxious plant and animal species.