Rain could be blessing or curse for firefighters - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Rain could be blessing or curse for firefighters

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Rainy weather moved into southern Nevada on Thursday. (FOX5) Rainy weather moved into southern Nevada on Thursday. (FOX5)
MT. CHARLESON (FOX5) -

The rainy weather that has moved into southern Nevada could be a blessing or a curse for the more than 1,200 crew members trying to contain the Carpenter 1 fire on Mount Charleston.

"Too much rain and you'll start to get flash floods and debris flows, especially around areas already burned," said incident meteorologist Jason Clapp.

Clapp, who is working from the Carpenter 1 command center at Centennial High School, is constantly monitoring weather in order to keep crews on fire lines safe.

"It would be nice just to get some light rains, and rising humidity to wet the ground," Clapp said.

The 11-day-old fire has spread to nearly 30,000 acres, destroying six structures so far. More than 1,200 people are currently battling the wildfire, and hope to have it contained by July 19. Currently, the fire is just 15 percent contained.

"Because the fire has burned vegetation up in a very steep area in the mountains, rain could destabilize the soil and threaten firefighters working below," said Madonna Lengerich, the command center's public information officer.

Loose soil could create a mud or rock slide, especially below rugged, steep ridges known as goat rocks.

"The problem is it would be so far away from where the firefighters are, they wouldn't know it was coming down," Lengerich said.

Fire behavior analyst Nick Yturri described the Carpenter 1 fire as challenging.

"We've had very erratic winds all the way through this fire. I expect more of the same with this moisture coming through," he said.

A flash flood watch is in effect for the Spring Mountains until late on Thursday. The damp weather is coming from a tropical storm in the eastern Pacific, as well as the monsoonal flow. Drier air is forecast to return this coming weekend.

Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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