Fires prompt sage grouse hunting ban in part of Nevada

Destruction of sage grouse habitat by a series of large wildfires has prompted a ban on hunting for the game bird this fall across a stretch of north-central Nevada nearly twice as big as the state of Delaware.

The Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners approved the emergency closure Friday of two hunting units in Humboldt and Elko counties.

The closure covers more than 3,500 miles (9,000 square kilometers) between the Idaho line and U.S. Interstate 80 northeast of Winnemucca.

The Nevada Department of Wildlife says at least 39 known breeding sites supporting about 750 male sage grouse were destroyed in July by a fire that burned 689 square miles (1,785 sq/km) of mostly rangeland.

It was the largest fire in Nevada’s recorded history.

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