Fast-moving wildfire spreads near Mount Charleston
MOUNT CHARLESTON – Authorities evacuated a Girl Scout camp and a youth correctional facility after a fast-moving wildfire sparked by a vehicle crash spread Monday in the rugged hills near the mountain community of Mount Charleston.
More than a dozen homes about a mile and a half from the fire were also evacuated as a precaution.
The 1,500-acre blaze, dubbed the Robber’s fire, is about 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
Federal, state and local firefighters swarmed the hilly area off State Route 158 shortly after the fire was reported about 12:30 p.m.
The U.S. Forest Service was providing crews and air support, including two heavy tankers, helicopters and a single-engine tanker, said Kirsten Cannon, a Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman.
Camp Stimpson, the Girl Scout camp, and the Spring Mountain Youth Camp for juveniles were evacuated Monday afternoon. There were about 100 youngsters at the two camps, Las Vegas police said.
Authorities were also asking residents to leave the area.
Mark Blankensop, an assistant fire chief for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, said as a precaution authorities ordered the evacuation of people living in more than a dozen homes in the Deer Creek subdivision.
The development is about a mile and a half from fire lines, Blankensop said.
“This is the fire we didn’t want,” Blankensop said, referring to the dry conditions in the area.
No wide-scale evacuation had been ordered yet. About 2,500 people live in the Mount Charleston area.
William Kourim, a Clark County fire chief, said officials feared residents would be trapped if the fire reached the Kyle Canyon community.
“It’s a narrow box canyon, one way in and one way out,” he said. Kourim said helicopter evacuations would be impossible because of the terrain and altitude. The fire began at 8,200 feet, and by evening had burned to an 11,000-foot ridge.
The local Red Cross was deployed to assist people.
Officials say the fire started on state Highway 158, about two miles north of Kyle Canyon Road. A flatbed truck coming down the mountain overheated its breaks and lost control, rolling into some brush and igniting the blaze, Las Vegas police said.
The driver was taken to a hospital. Her condition was not available.
The mountain road in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is also known as the Deer Creek Highway. It runs through a notch between 11,918-foot Mount Charleston and 8,861-foot Angel Peak – past the historic Robber’s Roost hideout and a state youth camp.
Roadside viewpoints offer wide vistas of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas.
Kyle Canyon Road, the only road to the mountain community of Mount Charleston, was closed.
Heavy plumes of smoke could be seen from Las Vegas.