Wildfire near Mount Charleston grows to 5,000 acres


Christopher DeVargas

Smoke blankets the mountains as a fire near Mount Charleston continues to burn, Monday, June 29, 2020.

Published Sun, Jun 28, 2020 (5 p.m.)

Updated Sun, Jun 28, 2020 (9:56 p.m.)

A wildfire near Mount Charleston fueled by windy conditions Sunday afternoon had swelled to more than 5,000 acres by nightfall, prompting evacuations, road closures and power outages.

There was 0% containment by 7:15 p.m., when the U.S. Forest Service announced that Kyle Canyon was ordered evacuated as the flames pushed east.

There were no reports of injuries.

The regional chapter of the American Red Cross announced that it’d opened a shelter at James Bilbray Elementary School, 9370 Brent Lane, near Sky Pointe and Sky Canyon Park drives.

NV Energy said on Twitter that it had shut down power in Mount Charleston for the safety of crews fighting the flames, noting that the outage could last until sometime Monday.

Fire crews were summoned about 2:40 p.m. to the area near Archery Range and Deer Creek roads and estimated that 10 acres were burning, fire officials said.

But with winds gusting at 20 to 30 mph, the burn area quickly expanded to 200 acres by 3:10 p.m., officials said. By 5:30 p.m., the U.S. Forest Service reported, the fire had grown to more than 400 acres.

Ray Johnson, spokesman with the forest service, told KSNV-TV that excessive winds were preventing aircraft use to fight the blaze, adding that they were pushing the fire "a lot quicker" than under normal circumstances.

Forest service “handcrews," on-the-ground units that specialize in preventing the spread of wildfires, were summoned, but they had to travel and weren't expected until later this evening, Johnson told the TV station.

The fire was sparked as Southern Nevada was under a wind advisory, with gusts blowing up to 50 mph, said the National Weather Service, noting that conditions were prime for a fire, and urging residents to take precautions with campfires, grills and fireworks through Monday.

Twelve units from four agencies — the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District, Clark County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and Las Vegas Fire & Rescue — are battling what's been dubbed the Mahogany fire, officials said. “The focus remains on containing and extinguishing the flames as well as protecting exposed structures,” a news release from the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District said.

The Spring Mountain Youth Camp was evacuated, officials said.

NV Energy said on Twitter that it had shut down power in Mount Charleston for the safety of crews fighting the flames.

Deer Creek Road, otherwise known as state Route 158, was shut down in the area, the Nevada Highway Patrol said.

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said his office was monitoring the fire.

Plumes of smoke from the fire could be seen throughout areas of Las Vegas.

The wildfire conjured images of the 2013 Carpenter 1 fire that began seven years ago this week on Mount Charleston. That wildfire, sparked by lightning on July 1, 2013, burned for more than a month and engulfed nearly 28,000 acres of land. The Carpenter 1 fire was declared fully contained on Aug. 18, 2013.

Back to top