New event brings awareness to historic fires and wildfire fuels along race route
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is partnering with the Bureau of Land Management, Nevada State Parks and Desert Sky Adventures to hold a Wildfire Awareness Half Marathon and 5K Trail Run beginning at 8 a.m., Saturday, May 9 at Washoe Lake State Park. Registration is now open for the race, where participants will run through some of Nevada’s most infamous wildfire fuels, such as big sagebrush, bitterbrush, cheatgrass and rabbitbrush.
The race is part of Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month, a collaborative effort by local, state and federal firefighting agencies, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension and many others. The event will promote this year’s wildfire awareness message, "Improve Your Odds — Prepare for Wildfire," encouraging residents to take action now to prepare their homes and properties to increase their likelihood of surviving future wildfires.
The event will also raise funds for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to fallen firefighters’ families and to firefighters injured in the line of duty. All proceeds from the $35 entry fee and donations collected during the event will be donated to the Foundation. As part of the race event, there will be displays of educational information, fire engines and a visit from Smokey Bear. The public is invited to come out and cheer on the runners, visit with firefighter representatives and enjoy the beauty of Washoe Valley.
"The race is being held in a beautiful, but fitting location here at Washoe Lake State Park," said Cooperative Extension Natural Resources Specialist Ed Smith, who co-manages the Living With Fire Program with Cooperative Extension Marketing Specialist Sonya Sistare. "Eight different wildfire scars can be seen on the hillsides surrounding the race course, including the most recent Washoe Drive Fire of 2012."
Smith has led the Living With Fire Program since 1997, teaching homeowners how to live more safely with the wildfire threat. The program has received numerous national awards, and been credited with spurring actions that have saved many homes.
Registration for the Wildfire Awareness Half Marathon and 5K at Washoe Lake State Park is limited to 300 participants. To register for the race or for more information about Nevada Wildfire Awareness Month, visit www.LivingWithFire.info, or contact Sistare at University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-336-0271.
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