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Scientists examine the fire damage done to Mount Charleston

Reported by: John Treanor
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Updated: 7/25/2013 6:22 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- Images of smoke and flames filling the Las Vegas skyline will be hard to forget.

The Carpenter 1 fire spread to 28,000 acres, burning through Mount Charleston. But what will the lasting impact of the wildfire be?

Scientists from the Interagency Burned Area Emergency Response team are trying to answer that very question.

While most of Mount Charleston was untouched by the Carpenter 1 fire, there are spots that were badly damaged. The damaged area is the focus of some very serious testing on the mountain.

The work is slow and is taken just one step at a time, head first into the same area that just days earlier was covered in flames

“There are still some smokers that were keeping an eye on and still some back haul we're pulling out,” said Soil Specialist Brian Rust.

It’s a simple job, test the soil to see if it can handle the rains, check the roots to see if the plants can grow back. Make sure the busy town underneath us is safe in case of a down pour.

It feels like you're in a doctor’s office, waiting for test results. How sick is the mountain, and can it be cured?

“It depends. If we get a lot of rain then it could start eroding,” Rust said.

The answer is mostly good.

“This is very, very typical; there’s nothing really extreme about this fire,” Rust said

The roots are fine and just 4 inches down the soil seems fine, which means long term nature can take its course.

“Next year this will all spring up because this stuff grows from the roots,” Rust said.

This small area now checked time for the experts to move on with 28,000 acres to cover and a week to get it done they will move quickly before giving recommendations for repairs.




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