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Clark County firefighters prepare for wildfire season

Posted at 8:09 PM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 23:09:23-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The Clark County Fire Department is preparing for a busy wildland fire season and reminds residents about the potential for wildfires during the spring and summer months when vegetation is driest.

This year, CCFD has a new utility vehicle that can be deployed in hard-to-reach desert areas and fire crews practiced using it today.

The fire utility vehicle holds 70 gallons of water and 5 gallons of foam and is equipped with 700 feet of hose. It is normally housed at the Clark County Fire Training Center so that it may be deployed countywide.

Nevada’s wildland fire season is May through October when vegetation is driest. May is Wildfire Awareness Month and officials have already responded to 15 Brush/Grass fires in 9 days.

“There is a lot of vegetation that can become fire fuel as the weather gets warmer and drier,” said Clark County Assistant Fire Chief Larry Haydu, who oversees the County’s ranks of volunteer firefighters as Rural Division Chief. “We are asking the public to carefully dispose of matches, smoking materials and other items that can ignite fires.” “This year we’ve seen an increase in fires due to an increase in people out shooting and ignitions caused by steel core ammunition, ricochets and the use of exploding targets, all of which are prohibited on Federal lands.

The memory of the enormous Carpenter 1 fire at Mount Charleston also looms large this time of year. The fire was ignited by a lightning strike on July 1, 2013, and consumed nearly 28,000 acres of forest, destroyed six structures and threatened homes.

“Mount Charleston is a very sensitive area, and visitors and residents alike need to work together to protect it,” said Fire Chief Jorge Gonzalez of the Mount Charleston Fire Protection District. “It’s important that the public obey posted fire restrictions and to use extreme caution. Fire restriction prohibit the use of open fires and charcoal bar-b-ques. Only propane, jellied petroleum and pressurized liquid fuel are allowed.

Clark County has about 120 volunteer firefighters and 10 volunteer fire stations in rural areas, including Indian Springs, Blue Diamond, Mountain Springs, Good Springs and Searchlight.

The Mount Charleston Fire Protection District operates Kyle Canyon Fire Station 853 at 4650 Kyle Canyon Road across from Old Town and Lee Canyon Fire Station 856 on State Route 156, near the Old Mill Campground.

Clark County also operates one volunteer station on the mountain, Station 82 in Cold Creek.

The majority of brush fires that happen in Southern Nevada occur on federal land, so Clark County’s volunteers typically respond to support the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and other federal agencies, depending on the jurisdiction of the fires.

Volunteers also could be dispatched to fight wildland fires throughout that state of Nevada.