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Lee Canyon residents concerned about hikers, campers during wildfire

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Posted at 4:36 PM, Jun 30, 2020

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As firefighters continue battling the Mahogany Fire, those who live in Lee Canyon are now being allowed back into their homes. Kyle Canyon Road and Lee Canyon Road have also opened back up.

State Route 158 remains closed and Spring Mountain Youth Camp remains under mandatory evacuation.

The fire has burned more than 2,700 acres of the Spring Mountains with 10% containment. The number of acres burned is actually lower today because of more accurate mapping. Fire officials say the initial estimate of 5,000 acres was made before aircraft could get a bird's eye view.

RELATED: MAHOGANY FIRE IS NOW 2,794 ACRES, 10% CONTAINED

The U.S. Forest Service says hikers are welcome where roads are open, but some Lee Canyon residents think it’s too early for visitors.

“We only have 10% containment on that fire and people are still worried about what’s going to happen. We would like to see the lives of residents and first responders considered,” said Katy Johnson, who lives in Lee Canyon with her husband and son.

Johnson and her family were given the voluntary notice to evacuate on Sunday but decided to stay.

“There were not many people that decided to stay in Lee Canyon, maybe six households. We rode it out from there, worried all night and scared to death,” Johnson said.

Lee Canyon residents were given the green light to go home Monday afternoon, according to Johnson. She says as soon as the roads opened, visitors headed the mountain looking for camping and hiking recommendations.

“We ended up going to McWilliams campground last night just to drive around the canyon and there were people camping there. The host had evacuated so there’s 70 campsites up there, no host. Anybody could have started a fire,” Johnson added.

Johnson says she wishes the mountain would stay closed while there is still an active fire.

A spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service says if you do plan to visit Mount Charleston, be mindful of heavy machinery and fire crews in the area and avoid any activity that could ignite a fire.

“We’re especially concerned about next weekend with Fourth of July. People need to remember that there’s no fireworks allowed up at Mt Charleston. That includes all federal lands in southern Nevada like Red Rock and Lake Mead. We urge people to be aware and use common sense,” said Ray Johnson, a U.S. Forest Service fire prevention officer.