Make safety part of Fourth of July and Summer Holiday Plans
High Fire Danger, Red Flag Warnings, Be Alert

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Contact: Adam Mayberry

Adam Mayberry, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, 775.326.6073

Bob Harmon, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, 775.785.6235

Shyanne Schull, Washoe County Animal Services, 775.322.3647

Reno, Nev. June 27, 2018.  Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, Washoe County Sheriff’s Office, and Washoe County Animal Services wish everyone a safe summer and happy Fourth of July.  As you make your summer plans and celebrate Independence Day, keep safety in mind for you, you’re loved ones, and your pets.

“Summer is a time to vacation, recreate, and experience the wonderful outdoor environment of northern Nevada,” said Truckee Meadows Fire Chief Charles Moore. “While we want everyone to enjoy time with family and loved ones, we also want our citizens to be safe.  Whether you are celebrating Independence Day, hiking, boating, or relaxing by the Truckee, please take the necessary safety precautions that will keep you safe, and could even save a life,” he said.

Here are a few summer safety tips for you and your pets:


  • It is illegal to possess or use fireworks and/or pyrotechnics within the Truckee Meadows and North Lake Tahoe Fire Districts which includes the unincorporated areas of Washoe County
  • Illegal possession or use of fireworks can result in fines up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail for each offense. In addition, the cost of suppression, and any other injury or liability caused by fireworks, are the direct responsibility of those persons using fireworks
  • The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by professionals. Give children glow sticks to replace sparklers. Glow sticks are a great alternative that they can use for days
  • Turn fireworks in to any Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District or North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District fire station at any time without penalty
  • Report illegal fireworks activity, contact the Sheriff’s non-emergency dispatch at (775) 785-WCSO

Fire Danger

  • Never throw cigarettes from a moving vehicle, extinguish cigarettes in proper designated receptacles
  • If you are participating in outdoor activities that could ignite a fire, such as camping, target shooting, and riding ATVs or off road motorcycles, bring fire suppression equipment such as water, an extinguisher and shovel
  • Target shooters are encouraged to use a firing range such as Washoe County’s Regional Shooting Facility
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the reach of children and never leave young children alone with an open flame
  • Remove dry and dead vegetation, and create defensible space around your home and property.  Refer to for more information and calculations on defensible space

Boating and Operation Dry Water

  • Never mix alcohol and boating, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office will be joining other Nevada Law Enforcement agencies for Operation Dry Water this weekend (June 29 – July 1).
  • Personal Flotation Devices are a must! Cold water shock can kill and the best protection is to always wear a proper life jacket when on the water boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, etc.
  • Never overload your boat
  • Always check the weather forecast before getting underway

Photo Opportunity: The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Marine 9 will participate in Operation Dry Water on Lake Tahoe from June 29 – July 1, 2018.  Operation Dry Water is nationwide effort to reduce drunken boating through heightened enforcement.

River Safety 

  • Always wear a life jacket or personal flotation device
  • Keep a close watch on children anytime they are near the banks of the river
  • If you plan to raft the river, make sure you have the proper gear and clothing for conditions
  • Have a communication plan in place in case a member of your group gets separated
  • Do not consume alcohol or drugs that will impair your ability to swim or maneuver in the river
  • Bring along a whistle that can be heard over the sound of rushing water if you need to attract attention
  • Make sure someone knows where you plan to enter and exit the river, as well as the time frame you expect to be in the water
  • Be wary of debris in the river, and prepare for strong currents and eddies


  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return so they can call for help if you are overdue
  • Wear and bring proper clothing for our region’s changing weather conditions. Extra layers are invaluable if you’re still on the trail when temperatures drop
  • Wear bright, neon colors that can be easily spotted by searchers
  • Bring safety items such as a fully charged cellphone, compass and whistle. Even if you only plan on being out during daylight hours, bring a flashlight just in case
  • Bring extra food and plenty of water
  • Be prepared to turn around if you are not comfortable with conditions

Never hesitate to call 911 if you feel you are in danger and in need of assistance.  Washoe County Search and Rescue teams are highly trained and eager to get you home safe. Once you make the call for help, stay put and wait for rescuers to come to you.

Pets: Hot Weather and Fireworks

Public fireworks on the 4th of July traditionally lead to an increase in stray dog calls to Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS). Dog owners are encouraged to:

  • Bring dogs inside before fireworks start, and keep them inside with windows and doors closed during fireworks displays
  • If you’re going to a firework display, it’s a good idea to leave your pets at home
  • Keep your pet indoors in a safe, cool area with a television or radio on to help mask the commotion of fireworks going on outside.
  • Confining your dog or cat to the inside of a car, even on a mild day, can result in a life-threatening situation for your pet. Per state law, it is illegal to allow a cat or dog to remain unattended in a parked or standing motor vehicle during a period of extreme heat or cold or in any other manner that endangers the health or safety of the cat or dog.

Lost Pets

  • Keep current identification on each of your pets.  Licensed, microchipped animals with ID tags have a better chance of being returned to their owners if lost.
  • WCRAS offers free microchips and a monthly, low-cost vaccination clinic for pets residing in Washoe County.  The next clinic is July 3rd, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Regional Animal Services Shelter. 
  • To report a distressed animal in a locked car, contact Washoe County Regional Animal Control Dispatch at (775) 322-DOGS between 8:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. daily. Contact 911 after hours.

Click here for further information about pet safety.

Fourth of July Closures: Most Washoe County offices will be closed Wednesday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day, including Administrative offices, Social Services, Libraries, Courts, Attorney's Office, Washoe County Sheriff's Office, Regional Animal Services Shelter, Health District. The County Clerk at the Washoe County Complex on Ninth St. and Wells Ave., in Reno will remain open throughout the holiday from 8 a.m. to midnight for the issuance of marriage licenses, fictitious firm names and notary bond filings, as well as property tax payments for the Treasurer’s Office.


Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »
Call 311 to find resources, ask questions, and utilize Washoe County services. Learn More »