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With rain in forecast, fire crews concerned about flooding

Reported by: Christine Kim
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Updated: 7/19/2013 8:54 am
LAS VEGAS (KSNV -- The Carpenter 1 Fire is 95 percent contained, but that doesn't necessarily mean the danger is over.

With rain in the forecast, a Burned Area Emergency Response Team is assessing the threat of flooding and debris flows that could rush down Mount Charleston into communities in the northwest part of the valley.

The city has been working to mitigate flooding on the streets, but if it rains hard, flows of debris and ash will be unavoidable. It's a dangerous and slippery mixture out on the roads.

The flooding could start as quickly as 30 minutes to an hour after the rain starts to drop.

Of the 28,000 acres that have burnt through Mount Charleston, much of it appears to have been scorched, taking along with it vegetation and ground cover and changing the ecosystem.

When it rained last week, a flow of debris came down the mountain, and it could happen again.

The places fire officials are concerned about are not only the areas close to the wildfire such as communities in Kyle Canyon and the private ranches next to the burn areas, but also neighborhoods downstream, in Pahrump on the other side and northwest Las Vegas, whose residents saw the strength of the water flow last Friday.

The Burned Area Emergency Response Team says it takes only half an inch of rain in 30 minutes to trigger a debris flow. It is asking residents living in areas of concern to have a plan.

There are treatments the team can use to reduce flooding risks such as temporary barriers and putting in runoff control devices.


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