Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District

Fire Prevention

The Fire Prevention Division of Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District provides services to the community for fire plan review, business license inspection, public education and outreach, community risk reduction and fire investigation.

Truckee Meadows Fire Offers Holiday Fire Prevention Tips - Christmas Tree Safety Video now Available

 The holidays are a favorite time of the year for families and friends to get together.  The season can also mean a greater risk of fire.  “We want our residents and families to enjoy this time of the year,” said Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) Fire Chief Charles Moore.  “We encourage everyone to do their part, and take the necessary precautions so that we can all have a safe Holiday season throughout Washoe County.”  Here is a short Truckee Meadows Fire video on Christmas Tree Safety.

Christmas/Holiday Tree Safety

Christmas trees can become a big hazard.  Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are likely to be very serious.  Dry trees can ignite up very quickly.  According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every four of tree fires, and one of every three tree fires is caused by electrical problems.

  • Always choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.  Before placing the tree in the stand, cut at least 2” from the base of the trunk.  Put the freshly cut trunk in water within 2 hours to keep it from sealing over.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat sources such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Most importantly, add water to the tree stand, and be sure to add water daily.  This is the best way to avoid a serious tree fire.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home, or going to bed.
  • Get rid of the Christmas tree after the Holidays, or when it is dry.  A dried out tree is a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside the home.
  • Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful offers an annual Christmas Tree Recycling program.

Holiday Decoration Safety

Be careful with holiday decorations.  According to the (NFPA), more than a third of home decoration fires are started by candles, and more than 40 percent of decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source.   

  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that burn.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords, or loose bulb connections.  Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Dispose of Ashes Properly to Prevent Wildfires - Use an Ash Can

Improper ash disposal causes thousands of fires every year, including the Washoe Drive Fire in 2012.  With continued use of wood burning fireplaces and stoves, along with an increasing use of outdoor fire pits, the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) is providing ash cans at no charge to Washoe County residents. Residents can stop by any Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Station, or the District’s Administrative office at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building D while supplies last and limited to one ash can per household.  Citizens can also purchase ash cans at local retailers.  ***UPDATE: TMFPD IS NOW OUT OF STOCK OF ASH CANS FOR THE SEASON, AND WILL RESUME THE PROGRAM LATER IN 2019***

“As cold temperatures begin to take hold in Washoe County, it is important that our residents take prudent fire prevention measures when heating their homes, to include disposing ashes properly using an ash can,” said Fire Chief Charles Moore.  Even after several days, a pile of ashes can hold enough heat to reignite and start a fire.  Three days is the minimum recommended cooling period for ashes.  Extra care should be used in the storage and final disposal.  TMFPD produced a short video to learn more on ash disposal using an ash can.

When disposing of ashes, use the following procedure:

-          All ashes should be stored in a fire-resistant metal container.  Never store ashes in a cardboard box or plastic bag.

-          Make sure there are no hot spots left in the ashes.  This is done by soaking them in water and stirring.

-          Wet down the ashes and any wood pieces in the can.  Use enough water to saturate the materials in the bucket so they are thoroughly wet.

-          Place the lid on the can and allow the ashes to sit for at least three days.

-          The metal container should be placed on a non- combustible surface, and away from anything flammable.  It should not be placed next to a firewood pile, in the garage, or under a wood deck or porch.

-          After sitting for at least three days in the metal container, cautiously check the exterior of the can to ensure it is cool to the touch.

-          Ashes can then be disposed of in the trash or used as compost in your garden.

Please note: If fire/rescue crews are on an emergency response, there will not be personnel that will respond to ash can requests at the station.  We ask that residents return at a later time.  Or, residents can come to the Fire District’s Administrative office at 1001 E. 9th Street, Building D.

What is a Red Flag Warning? Find out here.

Be Prepared for Wildfire! 

Prepare, Anticipate and Evacuate

A wildfire can move quickly through an area.  Creating defensible and survivable space is the most important thing you can do to prepare your home for wildfire.  Preparation and planning are key components for the safety of your family and home.  It is important for the community to work together to prepare for wildfire.  See the Living with Fire website for important information for our area.

Washoe Code Red is a useful tool for notification in case of an evacuation event whether it be fire, flood, or any other emergency. Please be sure that you and your family are registered to receive these life saving notifications.

It is easy to prepare for an evacuation in case of a wildland fire or other emergency.  See the United States Fire Administration website for their Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Tool Kit for advance preparation and planning information, as well as tips for after a fire.  We also have a quick reference sheet for evacuation preparation and planning in a wildfire event.

Evacuation tips

Find additional wildfire evacuation and safety tips here.  

Cans for Fireplace Ash and Oily Rag Disposal 

With the increased use of outdoor fireplaces and alternative heating/cooking methods, the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District would like to remind you of proper ways to dispose of leftover ashes.  Nationally, improper ash disposal from indoor and outdoor fireplaces and wood burning stoves causes thousands of fires every year.

Many people do not realize the length of time required for ashes to cool enough for disposal.  Even after several days, a pile of ashes can hold enough heat to reignite and start a fire.  Four days, or 96 hours, is the minimum recommended cooling period for ashes. Extra care should be used in the storage and final disposal.

When disposing of the ashes, you should use the following procedures:

  • Make sure there are no hot spots left in the ashes.  This is done by soaking them in water or letting them sit for several days and double checking for hot spots.   This would apply to charcoal grill ashes as well.
  • All ashes should then be stored in the fire-resistant metal container provided.  This helps keep air from blowing through and disturbing ashes which can leave hot coals exposed for reigniting.  Approved containers are available at local retailers.  They should NEVER be disposed of in a plastic garbage box or can, a cardboard box or paper grocery bag.  Never use a vacuum cleaner to pick up ashes.
  • The metal container should be placed away from anything flammable.  It should not be placed next to a firewood pile, up against or in the garage, on or under a wood deck or under a porch.
  • After sitting for a week in the closed metal container, check them again to be sure that they are cool. If so, the ashes are then safe to dispose of in your trash.

As a safety precaution keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from a fireplace, wood stove, or any other heating appliance, and create a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires. It is important to make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying, and never leave a fire unattended, particularly when children are present.

Ash cans can also be used to store rags that have been used for painting, varnishing or staining and for the disposal of charcoal briquettes that have been used in a barbecue. 

Residents may fill out an Ash Can Request form and bring it to our main office to receive an ash can.

Public Education

Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District offers Public Education and Community Risk Reduction Programs to its residents.  Please see the Public Education Request Form.  The form should be filled out in its entirety and returned to our office.  The request will be reviewed, and the requestor contacted with follow-up information regarding the requested program.  Requests should be made at least 21 days prior to the date of the requested program.  Please call the Prevention Division at 775-326-6006 with questions.

Fire Hazard Concerns

Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District may have the ability to assist residents with defensible space concerns.  Residents can download and fill out the Fire Hazard Complaint Form, should they have concerns within the area.  TMFPD has restrictions on what it is allowed to enforce which includes: the area of concern has to be visible from a public way, the form and concern cannot be anonymous, TMFPD will only address dead vegetation- which does not include sagebrush, the property shall be an adjoining property to the complainant, and the complainant's property and all adjoining properties shall be inspected and required to follow the requirements for defensible space compliance under Washoe County Code 60.

Washoe County Code 60: Fire Code

Contractor Checklists and information:

Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District has adopted, in accordance with NAC 477, the 2012 International Fire Code and 2012 International Wildland Urban Interface Code, with amendments.  See the amendments for specific requirements for development within TMFPD.  Any questions regarding development, commercial and residential plan review shall be referred to Deputy Chief Lisa Beaver at (775) 326-6005 .  See Washoe County Building Department's document on construction in the WUI for additional information.  Please find attached helpful checklists outlining the minimum information to be placed on a set of plans for construction within TMFPD.  All plans shall be submitted through the Washoe County Building Department and be in compliance with all required Codes and Ordinances for TMFPD and State Law.

NFPA 72 Checklist

Residential fire sprinkler checklist

Commercial fire sprinkler checklist

Blasting Permit Application

Underground Piping checklist

TMFPD Commercial Building Permit Application - Please complete, print and attach to plans before submitting.

High-pile storage:  High pile storage requirements and instructional information is available below.  Information and evaluation of high-pile storage arrangements shall be prepared by a fire protection specialist or fire protection engineer and shall include the information below.  TMFPD will determine if the prepared report meets the requirements of the International Fire Code 2012 Ed. for compliance.  Please call 775-326-6005 with questions.

High-pile storage information

High-pile storage illustrated guide

High-pile storage application

Incident Request Form

Residents who wish to receive a copy of an incident report may use the Incident Request Form or the Medical Report Request Form to request the information.

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 »