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Wildfire scorches about 20 acres at Red Rock Canyon

Updated June 22, 2018 - 9:19 pm

A wildfire that broke out Friday morning in Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area scorched about 20 acres and is not expected to be extinguished until late Saturday.

The fire now smoldering in desert shrubs, grasses and pinion pine was reported about 6:15 a.m. at the Pine Creek Canyon trail northwest of the roughly 195,820-acre park’s 13-mile scenic loop exit, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire had stopped spreading around noon and was about 15 percent contained by late morning, officials said. By Friday night, the fire was estimated to be 70 percent contained, and efforts to further contain it were continuing overnight, a BLM release said.

In its path, the fire left behind a mosaic pattern, officials said. The perimeter of the total affected area stretched about 91 acres because of the large “unburned islands,” according to BLM spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon.

“Any fire in Red Rock is a concern because it’s a national conservation area as well as well loved by 2 million visitors a year,” Cannon said during a news briefing.

No injuries were reported, and no structures were threatened.

It was not clear whether any wildlife was affected by the fire, which was burning in desert tortoise habitat, Cannon said.

Six engines, one helicopter, two single-engine air tankers and about 60 firefighters responded from the BLM, Clark County Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service and Nevada Division of Forestry.

The exact cause of the fire had not been determined. BLM officials will handle the investigation, spokesman John Asselin said.

“It’s that time of the year when it’s hot outside and it’s dry,” Asselin said. “People think it has to be a campfire, but the littlest things start fires, like cigarettes and sparks.”

The scenic loop, which was open Friday, will remain open during normal business hours, but the Pine Creek parking lot and trails in the immediate area are closed, officials said Friday evening.

Yolanda Aguilar, who lives in Summerlin, saw the fire on her way to Bonnie Springs Ranch on Friday morning.

The 61-year-old said she hikes in Red Rock Canyon about once a week during cooler months. She remembered the devastation of fires at Mount Charleston and hoped Red Rock Canyon does not face similar damage.

“I don’t like it, not at all,” she said. “There’s a lot of wildlife out there.”

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter. Review-Journal reporter Katelyn Newberg contributed to this report.

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