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Las Vegas: Post-wildfire, recreation area and resort reopen

August 01, 2013|By Jay Jones

Most public lands and resorts in the mountains northwest of Las Vegas are welcoming visitors after a wildfire last month that forced widespread evacuations and fouled the air on the Strip.

The Carpenter 1 blaze consumed more than 43 square miles of forest. Officials described it as a “mosaic” fire, meaning it burned in patches, often in remote, rugged terrain seldom accessed by day-trippers. Most of the pine-laced hiking trails and picnic areas in the Spring Mountains National Recreation Area were unscathed and have reopened.

Outdoor recreational opportunities again abound at the Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort in Kyle Canyon about 50 miles northwest of the Las Vegas Strip.

“The fire remained to the south of us. The closest it ever got to us was about three-quarters of a mile as the bird flies,” said Kevin Stickelman, the resort’s general manager.

From Fridays through Sundays during the summer, the resort offers camping, hiking trails, an 18-hole disc golf course and chairlift rides.

“For the remainder of the summer, we have pledged to donate 20% of our gross revenues from scenic chairlift rides to the Mount Charleston Volunteer Fire Department and the efforts for both fire recovery and future fire prevention in the Spring Mountains,” Stickelman said. “That’s something we’re serious about that’s in everyone’s best interests.”

In Lee Canyon, about 20 minutes closer to Las Vegas, Mount Charleston Lodge has resumed full operation. The lodge, which is at the end of Nevada Highway 157 at an elevation of 7,700 feet, has a popular bar and restaurant, as well as 23 log cabins for overnight guests.

U.S. Forest Service officials warn visitors to stay out of the still-closed area south of Kyle Canyon Road. The area is littered with “snags, standing dead trees that topple without a breath of wind,” and other hazards, a news release says.

Because of the loss of trees, the mountains are at serious risk for flooding after heavy rains. In recent days, the National Weather Service has issued several flash flood warnings for the scarred area, urging travelers to exercise extreme caution.

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