MOUNT CHARLESTON (KSNV MyNews3.com) — More than one year after the devastating Carpenter 1 wildfire on Mount Charleston, the land remains parched and wildfire conditions are very high. All the extra visitors may make Mount Charleston even more susceptible to fires.
"It literally exploded. Fire shot up and that was it," said Becky Grismanauskas, a resident of the Rainbow subdivision.
She remembers watching the Carpenter 1 fire head toward the homes. Now a year later, she's on pins and needles.
"I don't know which thing to fear the most today," Grismanauskas said.
The Grismanauskases evacuated for the fire in July and flooding in September. The high murky waters swept away her husband's woodshop and two of their vehicles.
She knows the conditions are ripe for another fire this year — the forest is dry and perfect fuel for a wildfire.
"Now they are going to be in the same condition, that happened last year when the fire was smoldering up there," she said.
Ray Johnson of the U.S. Forest Service says it starts with very dry grass.
"This is already what we call 'cured.' It's very dry and brittle and ready to burn right now," Johnson said.
Johnson says most visitors are aware of the ban on fireworks in the mountains, and campfires only being allowed in developed recreation areas. His biggest concerns: a cigarette carelessly tossed into brush or a spark from a catalytic converter.
"We pay attention to people who come up here during the course of the summer, especially on these big weekends where there is a lot of potential for a wildfire," Johnson said.
Residents like Grismanauskas are hoping visitors know the routine for the busy Fourth of July weekend.
"Enjoy the mountain and be careful," Grismanauskas said
Whether it's caused by nature, meaning lightning, or by humans, the Forest Service says it is ready to respond should a wildfire start burning. Fire agencies team together.
The Carpenter 1 fire burned nearly 28,000 acres and temporarily shut down the lodge and the resort.