Mount Charleston fire reduced to 290 acres |

Mount Charleston fire reduced to 290 acres


MOUNT CHARLESTON – Officials vastly reduced the size of a wildfire burning Wednesday in the mountains northwest of Las Vegas to 290 acres.

“It surprised me, too,” said Tim Sexton, chief of an elite national interagency fire management team that began arriving Tuesday to fight the Robber’s Fire on steep mountain slopes near a wooded canyon containing 350 homes. “When we rolled in here, the initial estimate was 1,500 acres.”

Sexton said the new acreage total was based on an accurate assessment made once smoke and flames cleared and officials fixed the boundaries using global positioning systems.

The blaze, now 40 percent contained, was sparked by a truck fire Monday.

Sexton said his Boise, Idaho-based Type 1 interagency team, one of 16 in the nation, was called because the fire was in inaccessible terrain and threatened homes in Kyle Canyon, 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

“The size wasn’t as important as the threat to the Kyle Canyon communities,” he said. “The other aspect was we were going to need to use a variety of helicopters and air tankers.”

Sexton said four helicopters, directed by a spotter in a fixed-wing airplane, dropped water Wednesday on pockets of fire still burning inside the fire lines in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. No homes were threatened, and the fire could be fully contained by Friday, he said.

“The weather currently is cooperating,” he said. “But it’s hot and dry, with potential for strong fire activity.”

Sexton said he could not confirm reports of three minor injuries among the 449 firefighters on the line.

Some members of a Nevada prison firefighting crew were taken off the lines Wednesday after complaining of heat discomfort, and one inmate reported hitting his head on a log, Sexton said.