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Officials warn of potential for repeat of Carpenter 1 fire | News

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Officials warn of potential for repeat of Carpenter 1 fire

MOUNT CHARLESTON, Nev.  — Fire prevention advocates, area residents and Clark County officials are marking the anniversary of the start of a massive wildfire on a mountain near Las Vegas with a call for awareness of drought and effects of climate change.

A Tuesday event at the Resort on Mt. Charleston showcased woodland scars, lasting effects and steps toward recovery from the Carpenter 1 fire.

The lightning-sparked burned for more than three weeks last July, forcing evacuations of hamlet homes and charring more than 43.5 square miles while more than 1,300 firefighters battled to contain it about 25 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

BLM firefighters still aren't over the devastation. "(The fire) was moving at exceptional rates of speed that did not allow direct attack," said Mike Haydon with BLM Fire Management.

Two firefighters were hurt and six structures were lost. A month later, storm runoff from thunderstorms washing over scarred areas swept into northwest parts of Las Vegas.

Now, they're trying to prevent another natural disaster.

"The fire danger continues," said Haydon. "We have a lot of resources and tankers positioned to hopefully get anything when it's small. But, most importantly, we'd like to prevent them from happening in the first place."

Clark County leaders say another wildfire could destroy the valley's eco-tourism. 

"You want them to know that they're safe, that the air is clean, that the wildlife is still here, and they can enjoy that part," said Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said.

Eleven-year-old hiker Jaeden Kemp has seen the damage up close. "It can destroy a lot more of the trees and the plants and hurt the animals."

Firefighters says there's currently a ban on campfires, so no open flames are allowed. Officials also caution you while smoking on a visit to the mountain. Coming soon, county leaders hope to have Mt. Charleston shuttles to reduce the amount of fuel making it up the mountain.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.