Heat with lightning raises spectre of fires in Carson City

Replete with a red flag alert and fire chief fears, this weekend’s Carson City area heat and storm conditions mean fire potential looms.

“Lightning may create new fire starts and combine with strong outflow winds to produce rapid fire growth,” the National Weather Service office in Reno reported about the region that includes Carson City, Douglas, Storey, southern Washoe and eastern Lyon counties. “A red flag warning means there is high confidence that critical fire weather conditions will occur.”

Temperatures exceeding 100 degrees are anticipated today and perhaps into next week. Isolated thunderstorms west of U.S. Highway 395 Friday afternoon and evening brought the potential to become more numerous later today across the region, according to the weather service. The service’s red flag warning remains in effect from 1 to 9 p.m. today for thunderstorms and outflow winds in the area.

Raising the spectre of a possible “catastrophic fire season” Friday, Fire Chief Bob Schreihans urged city residents to prepare in case conditions lead to fire problems. The chief, also city emergency manager, said after four years of drought and with current conditions what he fears is a fire season that has prospects for catastrophe as he targeted his concern to the current heat wave.

He issued a news release saying with record-breaking temperatures, winds and lightning predicted over the next five days beginning today, preparation is vital. He said if a house evacuation becomes necessary it’s unlikely there’s going to be sufficient time to gather essentials.

Accordingly, his office of emergency management encouraged people to have a “grab-and-go kit” with essential supplies such as water, food and first-aid items. Also suggested were such things as making a video of your home, belongings and putting valuables together in an accessible place to take with the grab-and-go kit. Other items to take in an emergency: important papers; prescriptions; cash; a personal computer, and a list of contacts.

Additional suggestions of things to do if fire threatens your home were: safeguarding pets; shutting off the gas meter; leaving lights on to aid firefighters in smoky conditions, and checking on neighbors.


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