USA — The Nevada Department of Wildlife has teamed up with the Reno chapterof Nevada Bighorns Unlimited to gather money for use in wildland rehabilitationefforts following this summer’s disastrous fire season.
Wildfires in Nevada burned more than 1.3 million acres in 2006, two thirds ofwhich were in Elko County. The Bighorns-Nevada Wildfire Disaster Fund has beenset up to allow individuals and interested organizations to donate money to helpbuy seed and pay for its dispersal over scorched winter ranges.
“We lost huge amounts of wildlife habitat in these fires. There is ashort window of opportunity to begin rehabilitation efforts as soon as possible,”according to Dave Pulliam, Habitat Bureau Chief for the wildlife department.
The department has channeled $708,000 of habitat conservation fees fromhunting and trapping licenses and state bond money to rehabilitation efforts.
“Frankly, we need a lot more money to have a chance of being successful,”Pulliam said. “The $708,000 will only pay for rehabbing about 5 percent ofthe burned acreage. We need to do more than that.”
The fund was formed on the heels of Gov. Kenny Guinn’s authorization of thelargest emergency hunt in state history to thin herds in northeast Nevada, wherethe fires blackened a Rhode Island-sized area of prime wildlife and livestockhabitat.
“We are reaching out to anyone who loves wildlife,” Bighorn VicePresident Jim Nelson said.
“All of the money donated to this fund will go to rehabilitation effortsnow and well into the future. Since wildfires are a yearly event in Nevada, weplan on keeping this fund going so we can help NDOW better react to wildlandrehabilitation needs.”