LAS VEGAS (AP) — A wildfire near Las Vegas destroyed six structures at a desert ranch and two firefighters suffered minor injuries, fire officials said Wednesday.
It wasn’t immediately clear if any homes were destroyed on the ranch several miles from woodsy Mount Charleston hamlets where more than a thousand firefighters were protecting more than 400 homes, a canyon hotel and a scenic lodge and cabins.
One of the buildings that burned in the Carpenter 1 fire was a commercial structure at Prospect Springs, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Suzanne Shelp said.
More than 270 firefighters were added Tuesday to the fire sparked by a lightning strike July 1, bringing to 1,077 the number of people fighting the blaze about 25 miles northwest of downtown Las Vegas. One firefighter injured a knee on Tuesday and another suffered heat illness.
Crews set backfires, cleared undergrowth and positioned more than 50 fire engines to protect homes in the Rainbow, Echo and Old Town areas. But the fire grew about 9 square miles and overall containment dropped from 15 percent to 10 percent as erratic gusts of wind pushed flames up canyons, down the mountain and across state Route 157.
The main highway in and out of the evacuated Kyle Canyon area was briefly cut off, but crews bulldozed a fire line to protect the road, Shelp said.
Smoke from the fire made downtown and the Las Vegas Strip smell like a campfire.
Shelp said overnight mapping put the fire at 25,524 acres, or almost 40 square miles.
“The big factor today will be what the wind will do, because we’re still hot and dry,” she said Wednesday.
In northern Nevada, officials reported that more than 1,060 firefighters reached 40 percent containment of the more than 40-square-mile Bison fire in the mountains near Gardnerville and Carson City.
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid spread the alarm about the fires in his home state to the floor of the Senate, where he told colleagues that firefighters were working very hard, “but the progress we were making was erased yesterday.”
“I’ll do everything that I can to ensure that every federal resource that’s available will be made available to support local officials and fire crews,” Reid pledged.
No homes have been lost in either fire, but fire officials said containment may not come on either fire until next week.
In other wildfires burning in the West:
— In Arizona, residents were allowed to return Tuesday to about 100 of the 200 homes evacuated due to a wildfire in Kearny, located 73 miles southeast of Phoenix. The fire has burned about 300 acres of dense vegetation and one house since Monday. It was 5 percent contained.
— In Northern California, more than 800 firefighters battled a 160-acre blaze near Kyburz, west of South Lake Tahoe. The El Dorado National Forest wildfire hadn’t damaged any homes or required evacuations. Containment was about 40 percent Tuesday.
— In Southern California, a wildfire burned more than 100 cabins at a Shriner’s International mountain camp near Julian, 60 miles east of San Diego in the Cleveland National Forest. The 7.3-square-mile fire was 15 percent contained but threatens evacuated campgrounds and about 120 homes, mostly vacation cabins, officials said Tuesday.
— In southern Colorado, the East Peak Fire was declared 100 percent contained Tuesday. The lightning-sparked fire burned 13 homes.