LAS VEGAS – As the effects of Mount Charleston’s wet winter become clear, authorities are getting ready for the chance of a more dangerous fire season. Ray Johnson, a fire control officer with the U.S. Forest Service, says that rules that normally would have been in place a long time ago have only just started to be enforced.
In the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area, fires are only allowed at campsites and day-use picnic spots that are marked as such. Fires are not allowed for campers who go deeper into the forest or along the side of the road.
Because it rained a lot in the winter, the plants that could catch on fire were soaked, lowering the normal fire risk. But as the plants dry out, both man-made and natural fires, like those started by lightning, become more likely.
A lightning strike started the Carpenter 1 fire on Mount Charleston ten years ago. It burned over 28,000 acres. Even though officials hope that something similar won’t happen this season, they are still on the lookout and ready. The lessons that were learned from the Carpenter 1 fire show how important safety is.
Even though there are risks, people continue to hike on Mount Charleston’s trails to get away from the hot weather in Las Vegas. Nikki Corda from Las Vegas said she liked the place and liked being able to get away from the summer heat there.
Firefighters and people in charge of preventing fires in the area hope that tourists will remember how easy it is for fires to start. Johnson says that people need to use common sense and encourages them to keep learning about wildfires. Being aware and careful can go a long way toward stopping disasters.
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