Wildfires are burning through Western states this morning, two of the biggest located in Nevada, where more than 500 residents have been evacuated.
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.
Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Smoke from the Carpenter 1 fire in the Spring Mountains range in Nevada is illuminated by the setting sun as it billows behind hotel-casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
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.
Chase Stevens / Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP
A family visiting the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area takes photos as smoke rises from the Carpenter 1 fire near Las Vegas.
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:
- 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 burned 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.
This story was originally published on Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:55 AM EDT