Submitted by Kim Otero, Nevada Fire Safe Council
Mt. Charleston residents are closely following wildfire activity in the western United States. Each new reported fire serves as reminder that Kyle Canyon in the Spring Mountains is rated extreme for wildfire. “Preparation is the key to having any chance of surviving a wildfire,” said Mt. Charleston Volunteer Fire Department Chief Dave Martin.
Residents prepare for each fire season by raking pine needles, clearing brush and checking their properties for areas where an ember could land and spark a fire. Preparations began this year the first week of June with the Pine Needle Pick Up.
The Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF) also plays an important role in protecting the mountain against wildfire. Staffed 24/7, NDF crews are first on scene when wildfire strikes. NDF crews are joined by mountain resident Clark County Fire Department volunteers from Station 81 who are also certified to fight wildland fires.”We run volunteers through the same basic wildland training as the NDF crews. Each year, red carded volunteers have to re-certify to prepare to fight wildfire. The NDF crews and volunteers are trained to be able to work side by side,” said Mike Johnson, Assistant Chief with the Clark County Fire Department
It is the volunteers from Station 81 and the NDF crews who appreciate the efforts to prepare the mountain to survive a wildfire. “Anytime you enter a fire scene you are at risk. When you help to reduce the risk of the spread of wildfire you are also protecting your fire crews,” said Kim Otero with the Nevada Fire Safe Council.
Residents raked, bagged and disposed of close to 20 tons of dead vegetation in dumpsters donated by Republic Services. The creek bed running through the Old Town subdivision was cleared of several tons of dried branches and pine needles by the Clark County Fire Department Explorers. “The service the Explorers have provided is invaluable,” said Liz Claggett, a property owner whose mountain home backs up to the creek bed. “The lots in Old Town are small, and the houses are close together. A fire running through the creek bed could easily ignite half of the homes in Old Town. The residents don’t have the capacity to work as hard and as fast as the Explorers, so their help was certainly appreciated,” Claggett said.
This year marked the fourth time Spring Mountain Youth Camp crews and Westcare
residents participated in the clean-up. Working several days before and after the event, the youth and Westcare residents raked pine needles on several properties belonging to seniors and disabled residents. “Their efforts made a big difference, and we appreciate their help,” said Tom Padden, leader of the Mt. Charleston Chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council. “It takes a lot of work and a big commitment to reduce the threat of wildfire on mountain properties,” said Becky Grismanauskas, a member of the Mt. Charleston Town Advisory Board. “The fact of the matter is that when the Clark County Fire Department Explorers, the Spring Mountain Youth Camp and the Westcare residents come up and assist residents in reducing the threat of wildfire they are protecting the mountain for both the residents and visitors. The Mountain is a special place for everyone to enjoy. We all need to do our part to protect the Spring Mountains from wildfire danger.”