I was invited by Ryan S. Shane, a Resource Management officer with the Nevada Division of Forestry, to assist with a visit to the community of Jarbidgeon May 8. It’s located in a very remote area of Elko County, Nevada, on the Idaho border. From Elko, it was a three-and-a-half-hour drive because the pass through the mountains was still closed because of the snow. The community itself is like a time capsule of the Old West, with buildings that date to the late 1800s. The last stage coach robbery in the United States occurred in Jarbidge in 1916. The perpetrator was convicted by one of the first uses of CSI principles: his bloody handprint.
Along with Ryan and I, state forester Pete Anderson made the drive up from Elko, which meandered
through sage brush and unusual mountain formations. Antelope scampered in front of our SUV on the road and seemed to be checking the vehicle and occupants. I realized what a treasure this community is. The Jarbidge River is home to bull trout, a threatened species of fish. It was clear that the fire prevention efforts in this community would help to protect the beautiful ecosystem and water supply as well as the community.
The meeting was held in the Red Dog Saloon, the largest meeting place in the community with an interesting history of its own. Jarbidge, once a flourishing gold mining town in the 1920s, is now a small sleepy hamlet surrounded by wilderness areas including the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. Nevada Forestry and US Forest Service staff joined me in explaining how residents and collaborators could work together to create a Firewise Community. The Nevada State Division of Forestry and the US Forest Service are working on two small fuels projects around the community. Residents are interested in learning how they could make their community safer in the event of a wildfire. The residents realized the importance of protecting their watershed and homes. Some recent improvements have been made in the community including a new fire station, water distribution facility and hydrants. Homeowners realized there were many things they could do to improve the community and home safety including moving firewood at least thirty feet away from homes during fire season.
As residents of Jarbidge work hard with their agency partners to become fire adapted, they are not only helping to protect their community from fire but also helping preserve and enhance the beautiful natural areas that surround their
community. For more information about how your community can become recognized as a Firewise Communities/USA site go to www.firewise.org/usa. For information about how all the stakeholders in a community can collaborate together as a Fire Adapted Community go to www.fireadapted.org.
Photos by Faith Berry. Top left: A view on the outskirts of Jarbidge; top right: historic hotel in the center of town; center: Nevada State Forester Pete Anderson and Ryan S. Shane look at a site of a Nevada State fuels treatment area in close proximity to homes; bottom: members of the community met with collaborating partners including the Nevada Division of Forestry, the US Forest Service, the US Bureau of Land Management and NFPA's Firewise Communities program staff.