99°F
weather icon Clear

Wildfire near Mount Charleston 64% contained

Updated July 2, 2020 - 7:02 pm

The Mahogany Fire near Mount Charleston was about 64 percent contained as of Thursday night, but officials didn’t have an estimate for when it would be extinguished.

“There’s a lot of variables that go into play with full containment,” said Jeremy Kiesling, incident commander trainee for Great Basin Team District 7, which is fighting the wildfire that started Sunday.

The containment on Wednesday went from 10 percent to 40 percent. Kiesling said the blaze was “most likely” caused by an illegal campfire in the woods near the Mahogany Grove campsite. Officials have previously said the fire was likely caused by humans.

“We don’t know who started the fire,” Kiesling said, adding that the investigation could lead to criminal charges.

Officials were notified of the fire when someone reported smoke on Sunday afternoon.

The fire also led to the closure on Thursday morning of Lee Canyon Road at its intersection with Deer Creek Road, also called state Route 158, Kiesling said during a media briefing a few miles south of the road closure. In the distance, helicopters could be seen flying in the canyons, and a patch of pink fire retardant was visible on a hillside, but very little smoke wafted into the air.

Great Basin Team District 7 said in a statement Thursday morning that the road closure “is necessary for firefighter and public safety.” Officials will reevaluate Friday morning if the road will be reopened to the public for the Fourth of July weekend, Kiesling said.

“Fire personnel will be cutting hazardous trees, and helicopters will be doing critical bucket work in the area,” the statement said. “This closure is intended to be temporary and will reopen when it is safe for the public.”

The fire had not grown since Tuesday, and it still covered nearly 2,800 acres, said Great Basin Team District 7 spokesman Kyle Esparza.

A map of the fire released during the news conference showed that there were boundaries to the east and west where the fire was uncontrolled, meaning crews have not been able to clear trees and vegetation to create a barrier. Clearing vegetation in a boundary around the fire is done with the goal of preventing it from spreading, Kiesling said.

“This is steep and rough terrain in here, so it’s slow going,” he said.

As of Thursday, about 420 people were working to put out the fire, including six helicopters. There are minimal water sources on the mountain, but helicopter crews are able to get water from a pond near the Lee Canyon ski lodge.

Officials also are concerned about a few spot fires that are outside the boundary to the east of the main fire. Spot fires can range anywhere from 1 inch to an entire acre, Esparza said.

To prevent spread of the coronavirus, fire crews are working with face masks, sanitizing equipment and staying with their crews, which are about 20 people each. Most of the people working to put out the fire are staying at camps in the Mount Charleston area and are not going into towns, Kiesling said.

Two firefighters have required medical attention during the fire — one for a spider bite and another for dehydration, he said.

The fire on Sunday started at about 20 acres and grew to 500 acres within two hours.

“It grew exponentially after that,” Kiesling said, adding that it was difficult to get an accurate measure of the fire on Sunday because helicopters could not fly in the high winds with 60 mph gusts.

The Great Basin Team District 7 said in a statement Thursday there was “minimal fire activity” overnight and that crews were still working around the entire boundary of the fire.

“Windy conditions are expected, which may cause more smoke as interior portions of the fire continue to burn,” the statement said.

Kiesling said that if anyone plans to visit the Mount Charleston area during the holiday weekend, they should check fire restrictions and never leave a campfire unattended.

“They need to keep water around and fire extinguishers,” he said.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter. Review-Journal staff writer Glenn Puit contributed to this report.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Local Videos
Flamingo rollover crash
Las Vegas police investigate a rollover crash at the intersection of West Flamingo Road and Edmond Street on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Health district alleviates COVID-19 testing demands - Video
The Southern Nevada Health District is helping to alleviate COVID-19 testing demands by setting up smaller, pop-up neighborhood testing sites. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Neighborhood COVID-19 Testing Sites - Video
The Southern Nevada Health District is helping to alleviate COVID-19 testing demands buy setting up smaller, pop-up neighborhood testing sites. They are taking the weight off of the larger testing facilities, and providing more community based testing, especially in minority and senior communities hit hardest by the pandemic. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Goodwill provides ways for Las Vegas Valley families to save money - VIDEO
Goodwill is becoming the surprising place for families and job seekers to save money during the COVID-19 pandemic. We look at its safety measures and price out outfits for a family of four. (Angus Kelly and Carrie Roper/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fungus creating 'zombie' cicadas - Video
A “mind-control” fungus found in cicadas manipulates the insects into “zombies” that spread fungal spores, according to a researcher. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Wells Fargo teams up with Three Square food bank - Video
Wells Fargo and Three Square food bank team up to help out those in need during the coronavirus pandemic. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Coronavirus cases triple at Henderson nursing home - VIDEO
The number of residents with COVID-19 at Lake Mead Health & Rehabilitation in Henderson tripled overnight, according to state data. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
National Nurses United organized the picket at St. Rose Dominican, Siena campus - Video
National Nurses United organized the picket outside of St. Rose Dominican in Henderson calling for more nurses to improve the ratio of nurses to patients. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Reveiw-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Opponents to Floyd Lamb Park barn conversion sue - VIDEO
Opponents of a plan to convert a historic hay barn at Floyd Lamb Park at Tule Springs into an event center are suing the city of Las Vegas and Councilwoman Michele Fiore to halt the project. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Doubling down with the Derricos - Video
North Las Vegas couple Deon and Karen Derrico and their 14 children will be featured on a TLC reality show "Doubling Down With the Derricos." The Derrico family and their children includes quintuplets, triplets, twins and singletons. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police give details on fatal crash near Las Vegas Strip - Video
A 16-year-old girl died and two other people were injured in a one-vehicle crash on Sands Avenue near Las Vegas Boulevard South on Monday morning, Aug. 3. (Glenn Puitt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
ICU nurse talks about staffing shortages with COVID-19 patients increasing - Video
A 92 percent occupancy rate might suggest that a hospital still has room for more patients. But the number, according to Las Vegas Valley ICU nurse Geoconda Hughes does not tell the whole story. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police investigate homicide.
Detectives were investigating a homicide in southwest Las Vegas on Friday morning. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Buffalo Soldiers Day in Nevada - Video
Secretary of Buffalo Soldiers Horse Cavalry Anne Monterio attends a service honoring Nevada’s African American veterans for the Second Annual Buffalo Soldiers Day in Nevada, at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building on Tuesday, July 28, 2020. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Mob Museum makes hand sanitizer out of moonshine - Video
The Mob Museum's moonshine distillery has been making hand sanitizer in their underground facility for the past few months. Senior Educator Jim Zlomke shows how the FDA approved formula is made. (Cassie Soto/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
100 Dinners distribution in Las Vegas - Video
Food writer and lead organizer of Please Send Noodles, Kim Foster ,discusses preparing and distributing 100 meals for individuals of the community, at Foster’s home in Las Vegas on Saturday, July 25, 2020. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Eyewitness recounts man's drowning at Bellagio fountains - Video
Kayla Eklund said she called 911 Friday morning after she and her friend witnessed a man jump into the water at the Bellagio fountains. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pedestrian killed when struck by a vehicle in south Las Vegas - Video
A man was struck and killed by a vehicle when he ran onto Las Vegas Boulevard South near Windmill Lane in south Las Vegas early Wednesday, July 22. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lead investigator of local COVID-19 vaccine trial talks about hopeful outcomes - Video
Dr. Michael Levin, investigator for the phase three trial of the first COVID-19 vaccine developed in the U.S. by the National Institute of Health and Moderna Inc., talks about what health experts hope to learn from the trial. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Activists, union: Support only Black-owned businesses Monday - VIDEO
Social justice activists and a major labor union banded together Monday to keep attention on the Black Lives Matter movement. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
No Mask Nevada protests governor's mask mandate in Henderson - VIDEO
About 200 people gathered in Henderson on Saturday morning to protest Gov. Steve Sisolak’s mask mandate.The demonstration was organized by No Mask Nevada, a political action committee. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police: Mom Arrested in Fatal Crash Drove 121 MPH - VIDEO
A 23-year-old woman arrested Sunday night after a crash that killed her 1-year-old son was driving 121 mph at the time of the collision, according to a Las Vegas police report. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Owner of Mario’s West Side Market talks about his role in community - Video
Mario Berlanga, owner of Mario’s West Side Market, talks about his role in the community and his thoughts on the recent Black Lives Matter protests. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Trustees approve CCSD fall school reopening plan with caveat - VIDEO
In a marathon meeting Thursday night, Clark County School District trustees approved a plan to reopen schools this fall with the caveat that additional details about how to do so would come back before the board. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jara says time for debate is over on CCSD reopening plan - VIDEO
With pressure growing for the Clark County School District to modify its school reopening plan, Superintendent Jesus Jara said Tuesday that the time has come to move forward on the existing blueprint. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
RTC considers route changes as pandemic affects ridership, revenue - Video
Stung by a drop in public bus ridership because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada is considering systemwide service changes. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)v
Fireworks light up Las Vegas - Video
Las Vegas celebrated the Fourth of July with fireworks lighting up the entire valley. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fireworks in the Moapa sky - Video
Fireworks explode near Moapa Paiute Travel Plaza during Fourth of July festivities in Moapa, northwest of Las Vegas, on Saturday, July 4, 2020. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fourth of July fireworks at Plaza in downtown Las Vegas - Video
Fourth of July fireworks at the Plaza casino lit up the night sky in downtown Las Vegas on Saturday. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas teen shares COVID-19 story on social media - Video
Kaydee Asher speaks with the RJ about what it's like having COVID-19, how she may have contracted the virus, and how she's using her platform to tell other young people to be safe. (Renee Summerour/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Train carrying decommissioned nuclear reactor passes through Las Vegas - VIDEO
The train carrying a decommissioned nuclear reactor vessel from Southern California is passing through Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST