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Mt. Charleston Fire Update


Suzanne Shelp, U.S. Forest Service

Colton Lochhead, reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal

BY MARIE ANDRUSEWICZ -- The Mt. Charleston wildfirehas blazed through approximately 15,000 acres and is now only fifteen percent contained.

Last night, residents of Mt. Charleston attended a meeting in search of information on efforts to fight the fire that’s forced an evacuation and put their homes at risk.

According to Suzanne Shelp of the U.S. Forest Service, one of the questions raised at the town-hall style meeting was why didn’t firefighting efforts start sooner, and more aggressively.

“It was difficult to even see from the air,” says Shelp. “It stayed relatively small for two days -- we were fighting it with air resources and ground recourses.”

Shelp says the inability to see the exact dimensions of the fire made the Forest Service cautious about putting firefighters unnecessarily at risk. Also the exact position of the fire made it difficult to bring firefighting resources, because there was no road access, says Shelp.

Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Colton Lochhead says that, despite the concerns of a few boisterous attendees, the Forest Service was forthcoming at the town hall meeting.

“They gave quite a bit of information in terms of where they were attacking it, where it started from day one and told them where they went and kind of what happened, and the reasons that the fire spread – a play-by-play on how they planned on attacking it, so they were pretty open on what they were planning on doing,” says Lochhead.

He also says few residents are taking advantage of the shelters that have been set up for displaced residents.

“There was just a handful of people there and most of them were just there to get information to figure out what’s going on, just to stay updated on the event itself,” says Lochhead.

The U.S. Forest Service number for information on the fire is 702-799-4610.


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