Homes Destroyed in Moapa Wildfire - 8 News NOW

Homes Destroyed in Moapa Wildfire

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Photo by Sandra Wittwer Photo by Sandra Wittwer

MOAPA, Nev. -- An out of control wildfire in Moapa has burned more than 15 buildings, 10 of them primary residences. The blaze scorched 680 acres.

More than 100 firefighters with aerial tankers and a helicopter fought the blaze. Officials said fire activity decreased after nightfall, but they expected a resurgence Friday.

The fire is burning east of I-15 along State Highway 168, which was closed to traffic Thursday. Scott Allison with the Clark County Fire Department says high temperatures, low humidity and wind are creating a "perfect storm" to fuel this fire.

SLIDESHOW: Two Fires Burn in Southern Nevada

The blaze originally started when a vehicle caught fire. While some homes were destroyed, firefighters were able to save other homes. They don't know when the fire will be out, but firefighters plan on being on site through the weekend. The Bureau of Land Management reported Thursday night that fire activity for the Moapa Fire decreased significantly and no additional homes or buildings are immediately threatened.

The Southern Nevada Water Authority has an office in the area. Firefighters were able to save the building, even though the blaze crept to within 20 feet of the structure.

The SNWA has three water trucks on site and there are three aerial bombers working on flame suppression.

For those on the ground, the fire was equally intense. "I could see flames coming up over the hills," said Moapa resident William Seaman. "You know when flames are that high, and they are out of control like that, stuff is going to hit the fan," said Moapa resident Greg Salvadori.

By air, crews dumped fire retardant. Firefighters on the ground worked to create fire lines and put out hot spots.

Don Davis has lived through three fires in this area. While sitting and watching this fire burn, he admits this time things were different. "It's the worst I've seen it since the time I've lived here," Davis said. "I'm a little concerned right now, because it's about 300 yards from my house." The fire prompted Davis and others to move their horses to a safer location.

"It did get into the barn," Moapa resident Bill Parson said. "We lost the barn, tractor, a bunch of tools and things like that."

People living in Moapa say with such dry conditions, it was only a matter of time. "(It's the) perfect storm," Davis said. "(It's) just an opportunity with so much dry vegetation here that hasn't been controlled. One good storm on a good windy day like today, and you've got a problem."

Residents hope this fire is a reminder to everyone, including the Southern Nevada Water Authority which owns much of the land. "We are going to see the same problem in the future if we do not manage the range lands here," Parson said. "I think it will open up a dialogue about how to best maintain all of this fuel that can go up so quickly," Davis added.

Moapa is about 60 miles north of Las Vegas.

View Moapa Fire in a larger map
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