Fire crews gain little ground in burning West
The American West's long, hot summer proceeds without relief, with wildfires raging from Arizona to Alaska giving up ground to firefighters grudgingly.
Fire crews burned forest undergrowth near homes in the mountains northwest of Las Vegas to protect them from one of two large Nevada wildfires while local casino owners offered rooms to evacuees.
The wildfire burning northwest of Las Vegas was within a quarter-mile of homes Tuesday and had charred an area nearly the size of Manhattan, authorities said. Billowing smoke was visible from downtown and fine ash fell nearby.
In northern Nevada, more than 1,060 firefighters worked to stem the spread of a bigger but more remote wildfire that grew Monday to 40 square miles in the Pine Nut Mountains southwest of Reno.
No homes have been lost in either fire, but fire officials said containment may not come on either fire until next week.
Fires were also burning across the West in California — where 100 mountain cabins were destroyed and 120 homes remained threatened in San Diego County — and in Alaska, Idaho and Arizona.
In southern Nevada, no homes have been damaged and none of 800 firefighters has been injured battling the 31-square-mile Carpenter 1 fire on Mount Charleston, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jay Nichols said. Officials said the fire was about 15 percent contained.
One portion of the blaze "bumped" the edge of state Route 157, threatening to cut off the main highway in and out of the evacuated Kyle Canyon area some 25 miles outside Las Vegas. No homes were nearby, Nichols said.
Smoke billowing from the lightning-sparked blaze was visible for an eighth day from Las Vegas, where brown haze stretched northeast of this city of 2 million residents and fine white ash fell in communities north and west of downtown. The Clark County Department of Air Quality issued a health advisory that officials said would remain in effect through Sunday.
Several local casino companies teamed with the American Red Cross of Southern Nevada to provide hotel rooms to evacuees, and the Nevada Restaurant Association worked with the Red Cross to provide meals for firefighters working to protect about 400 mountain homes.
Cannery Casino Resorts executive Xavier Walsh said his company was willing to provide up to 40 rooms for the 10 days that fire managers say families may be displaced.
In northern Nevada, the 25,700-acre Bison Fire straddled the Douglas and Lyon county lines near Gardnerville and Carson City. It doubled in size Monday, but stabilized Tuesday after charring an area about two-thirds the size of Washington, D.C. Containment was reported at 25 percent.
In other wildfires burning in the West: