Southern Nevada blaze given priority in state

LAS VEGAS - Additional aerial support was helping firefighters in their battle against a wildland fire burning in the rugged Spring Mountains outside Las Vegas.

The Trout fire was estimated at 880 acres Monday, about 200 acres larger than previously estimated.

But fire spokeswoman Paul Cote said the increased size was due to more accurate mapping and not necessarily increased fire activity.

About 160 firefighters from as far away as North Carolina, Georgia and Alaska were fighting the lightning-sparked blaze on the ground, while two helicopters and four air tankers dropped water and fire retardant from the air.

''There's quite an array out there,'' she said.

The good news was that the fire was burning away from the tiny town of Trout Canyon and homes were no longer considered threatened by flames.

''It's progressively moved away from that community to the north and east,'' Cote said.

Trout Canyon is about 50 miles west of Las Vegas.

Elsewhere in Nevada, firefighters tamed a huge complex of 12 fires that burned 73,600 acres north of Wells.

The 3,100-acre Crusoe fire near Ely was also contained while firefighters made progress on other fires burning throughout the region.

Firefighters battling the O'Neil Basin Complex were heartened by the arrival of two support helicopters, which have been in short supply as fires continue to ravage the West in what is being called the worst fire season in 50 years.

The O'Neil fires have burned 35,700 acres southwest of Jackpot and were 40 percent contained on Monday.

The Fireball fire northeast of Fernley, which grew six-times in size over the weekend, was 80 percent contained at 7,000 acres.

East of Fallon, the Twin Peak fire, at 7,500 acres, was only 20 percent contained. Fallon Naval Air Station was lending assistance by providing an emergency medical technician and a two-person crew with a water truck from a Seabees construction battalion.

So far this fire season, 799 fires have burned 456,000 acres in Nevada.

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