Fire, flooding concerns persist on Mt. Charleston - 8 News NOW

Fire, flooding concerns persist on Mt. Charleston

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MOUNT CHARLESTON, Nev. - Tuesday marks the one year anniversary of the Carpenter 1 fire. The massive fire burned 28,000 acres and cost millions of dollars in damage on Mount Charleston. As dry, hot conditions persist, fire officials say they are concerned history could repeat.

Forestry officials say it will take hundreds of years for Mt. Charleston to recover from the Carpenter 1 fire. Grass is growing in some of the burned areas, but the grass dries quickly and creates a fire hazard.

Many of the trees, grass and plants on the mountain are still charred. Officials with the Nevada Division of Forestry say we are under a red flag warning, which means the risks of a fire are high.

In addition to the excessive heat, low humidity and winds, Forestry officials say they are worried about the lack of snow during the winter. Mt. Charleston only received half of what it usually gets.

The upcoming three-day, holiday weekend adds to the concerns.

“There's a plan in place right now for Fourth of July,” said Nevada Division of Forestry Fire Management Officer Jorge Gonzalez. “Extra staffing, extra crews and equipment (are) to be on staff during that day and during that weekend. Patrols are going to be in place."

Lightning sparked the Carpenter 1 fire, but humans cause most wildfires. That's why fire restrictions are in place. For example, no fireworks are allowed on federal or state land. Campfires outside of designated areas are prohibited, and people are not allowed to smoke in areas where fire restrictions are in place.

Flooding on the mountain is also a concern. Tuesday marks the start of monsoon season. A monsoonal storm last year helped firefighters control the Carpenter 1 blaze, but it also brought tons of runoff into the northwest part of the valley.

Much of Mt. Charleston land remains burnt, and the soil is unable to absorb rain water.

Forestry officials have been preparing for potential flooding. They placed mulch in burned areas, which helps absorb water and slow runoff.

The City of Las Vegas also hired crews to remove 25,000 tons of debris from the Kyle Canyon Detention Basin.

Gonzalez says homeowners can also take steps to flood-proof their homes.

“Have a clean property, clean of debris. Make sure that there are any drainages that are cleaned up from the debris that would actually promote some flooding issues when the drainages or storm drains get backed up,” he said.

Several flood control projects are underway in the northwest part of the valley. Crews are installing an underground drainage system to prevent flooding. Pipes on Grand Teton Drive between Hualapai Way and Tee Pee Lane are connected and ready to direct rain water to the Las Vegas Wash. Some work remains, however. This project should be completed by October.

Twenty flood control projects around the valley are currently underway or will begin construction this year. Combined, they cost an estimated $188 million.

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