Fire crews on Mount Charleston keeping vigilant

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for the entire state of Nevada because of hazardous conditions that raise the threat of wildfires.

Gusty winds, high temperatures and dry conditions in the Las Vegas valley increase the potential for dangerous wildfires. The warning is in effect from noon Wednesday to 11 p.m. Thursday.

Fire crews are being hyper-vigilant on Mount Charleston. It’s not unusual for Las Vegas valley dwellers to head to the mountain to escape the heat.

“My youngest brother and his daughter are climbing Fletcher Canyon and I’m here reading a book and it couldn’t be better,” said Ralph Cadwallader.

He’s been coming up here for more than five decades  but today sticks out.

“I’ve noticed quite a few trucks around, some off the road some coming up and down the road. I come up here probably a dozen times every summer and I haven’t seen this kind of activity before,” he said.

“This is how conditions are for the rest of the summer,” said Ray Johnson, who is driving a fire patrol truck looking for potential fire dangers.

“This is how we get notified, plus over the radio that we’re going into red flag warning so we know what weather conditions are approaching,” he said.

Near Harris Springs, it’s windy, warm and dry. Conditions that are ripe for wildfire — prompting the red flag warning.

“You can see that the grasses have grown in really well and they’re starting to really dry out with summer fire season here,” Johnson said.

With clear skies, any fire on the mountain would be human-caused. Fire crews are on high-alert, from the base of the mountain all the way up into the pines.

We have patrols out who’ll be going into places where we have dispersed recreation, which means people camping, not in a regular camp site, more out in the woods type situations,” Johnson said.

 Full fire restrictions go into effect July 1 meaning no fires outside of designated campgrounds. But until then, officials urge people to use common sense. Don’t park in the grass. Properly discard cigarettes             and absolutely no fireworks of any kind, any time.

“This is this is one of the special things about the Las Vegas valley that we have to do everything to preserve,” Cadwallader said.

Mother Nature can also cause fires. Summer thunderstorms can strike at any time and firefighters are prepared for that, as well.

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