LAS VEGAS -- A specialized team of scientists is going to investigate the Mt. Charleston area to find out if there's a bigger threat on its way.
The Burned Area Emergency Response, or BAER crew, said it's not a matter of if, but when the charred hilltops will become a breeding ground for dangerous flooding.
Beginning Tuesday morning, the team will spread out across the 28,000-acre burn area to run tests on the soil. Other tasks for this team include computer mapping where the worst areas of the fire happened, according to team leader Terry Hardy.
"We don't look at the whole fire everywhere for intensity and severity conditions. We'll focus our efforts on where those values at risk are," Hardy said.
Those "values at risk" are places where people typically go to enjoy the national forest, like the trailheads, campgrounds and roads.
The team will determine how much mulch or loose straw the federal government will pay for to lay on the soil and protect it from run-offs.
Hundreds of homes right next door to the mountain trails and campgrounds are also in threatened areas, but they are not a concern to the BAER crew. The houses will go untouched because they are not on federal government land and, therefore, it's not the team's responsibilities.
Clark County Emergency Manager and Deputy Fire Chief Fernandez Leary has been invited to go with the BAER crew and see what they find. Leary said he will work with these scientists on the federal land to help protect the homes most at risk on Clark County's land.
"We are absolutely worried about flooding," Leary said. "We have issues with flooding in Clark County with our number one goal to protect life and property just as it was with this fire."
Leary also wants to begin rehabilitating the soil as soon as possible as a first line of defense, but the problem is funding.
A spokesperson for Clark County said they will most likely not pay for protecting homes at risk.
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