Updated July 29, 2023 - 10:51 pm
An approximately 30,000-acre fire burning in the Mojave National Preserve that sent smoke into the Las Vegas Valley on Saturday has not yet been contained, an official with the preserve said.
Around 12:10 p.m. Friday, smoke was seen coming from the New York Mountains inside the preserve. The wildfire was discovered near the Caruthers Canyon in an area made up of desert scrub, juniper and Joshua tree woodland, according to the Mojave National Preserve.
The fire spread in a northeast direction and was moving at a moderate speed. In a Saturday morning update, officials said that the fire was 4,200 acres and that aircraft would be used for fire retardant drops. Crews on the ground were working to establish more direct access to the fire.
Stephanie Bishop, a public information officer with Mojave National Preserve, said around 4:30 p.m. that the fire was approximately 30,000 acres and zero percent contained.
No injuries have been reported, and no evacuations had been needed as of Saturday afternoon.
Officials said late Saturday night that three unoccupied structures, including the National Park Service-owned Kousch House in Caruthers Canyon, were destroyed in the fire.
Bishop indicated that Sunday’s forecast appears promising.
“We are looking at possibility of afternoon thunderstorms,” Bishop said. “There are not reports of winds like today, but we all know the weather can change quickly.”
The National Weather Service said the fire probably will continue sending smoke into the area through Sunday.
Around 5 p.m., air quality in parts of Las Vegas, Henderson and Boulder City was moderate, according to the Clark County Division of Air Quality.
Some Las Vegas Valley residents posted on social media Saturday about how they initially thought the smoke was cloud cover.
Andrew Gorelow, a meteorologist with the weather service, said Saturday evening that a computer model forecast the smoke to continue into the valley on Sunday but that it could ease up overnight because of lower temperatures.
If the wind flow continues in a south or southwest flow, residents can expect smoke to continue being pushed into the valley. Gorelow said the thickness of that smoke will depend on how the fire burns.
Gorelow suggested that those with respiratory sensitivity should monitor air quality and stay inside.
Mojave National Preserve is located in northeastern San Bernardino County in California, south of Interstate 15. It is approximately 60 miles southwest of Henderson.