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Ask Joe: Is NDOT land along McCarran becoming a fire hazard?

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Hopefully we're all doing our part to limit the fire danger around our homes these days. One of our viewers reached out with a question about what he feels is a fire hazard near his house.

Pat in Reno wrote in to point out NDOT owns the land behind his house. He says there are dried out weeds growing, which make it a fire danger.

He's called NDOT three times to take care of it, but he's still waiting for a response. He wants to know why NDOT won't clear that lot.

Here's what I found out:

We went out and took a look for ourselves at the property of S. McCarran and Skyline boulevards in southwest Reno. The dried out grass is about a foot high.

Pat says it's a concern for all the neighbors who live along that stretch. They're afraid one cigarette butt tossed out a window could spark a big fire.

I checked with Meg Ragonese over at NDOT to get to the bottom of this. She says it is NDOT property, and the agency owns about 30 to 40 feet on either side of McCarran.

The concern is removing the weeds could cause erosion. Also, NDOT's believes there's a chance doing any mechanical weed abatement work could spark a fire in these hot dry conditions, and they don't want to do that.

I asked Ragonese if she feels that area is a fire hazard, and she answered the question, again, simply by saying they don't want to spark a fire.

We've seen how quickly fires can spread already this summer, so you can see why neighbors would be frustrated by this situation and the answers they are getting.

Ragonese says NDOT will continue to monitor the area to try to figure out if there's a better time remove those weeds.

But for now, they are staying where they are and that means the fire danger will remain as well.

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