Mount Charleston faces new danger after Carpenter 1 Wildfire

Katie Crowther

Mount Charleston faces new danger after Carpenter 1 Wildfire

CREATED Jul. 18, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- The Carpenter 1 Wildfire is now 95 percent contained. While that's a huge sign of progress, there's a new danger brewing. Rain is expected on the mountain over the next few days, which authorities say, could cause serious flooding and landslides.
The U.S. Forest Service has assembled a Burned Area Emergency Response Team that has been working around the clock -- surveying the fire-ravaged land by helicopter and by foot.

They're assessing the risk of flooding, mudslides and erosion and trying to come up with the best ways to protect people and property, before it's too late.

This comes as Mount Charleston residents are just returning home after their mandatory evacuation.

Experts say because so much vegetation and soil was burned in the fire, there's nothing to absorb the rain. In turn, the water pushes debris down the mountain, putting people, homes and roads in danger.

"All it takes is a half-inch of rain to fall in a half hour, and you can have serious flooding," says Mary Moore, a hydrologist and member of the Burned Area Emergency Response Team.

Unfortunately, Moore says there's no quick fix.

"The flooding risk will still be there, even 7 to 10 years after the fire, so this is not something you just need to be concerned about for this weekend's weather," she says. "It's something the residents, and community leaders are going to have to be worried about long term."

The U.S. Forest Service encourages everyone to be aware of the weather at all times, and listen for alerts or warnings. If it does start raining significantly, find safety on higher ground, rather than evacuating down the mountain.