Mt. Charleston Flooding Worsened by Fire Damage

LAS VEGAS -- Sunday's storms created what some residents on Mount Charleston call the worst flash flooding they'd ever seen.

Tons of rocks and debris were picked up and carried down the mountain by rushing water. It took out a bridge, a picnic area, and trapped a resident. Cleanup crews say the runoff was created by the Carpenter One fire last month.

It's only been a day and crews have moved mounds to begin plans on constructing a new bridge. They want to work as much as they can before it rains again in fear that more flash flooding will produce a repeat incident.

Harris Springs Road looked more like a river when in three minutes, water rose 3 feet.

Most Mount Charleston residents took heed of the flash flood warnings but one woman was almost taken away outside her trailer. She eventually was saved and fire crews spent the rest of last night protecting vulnerable properties.

"We did have to go digging out the trailer and it had a pile of debris up to the door and it was a good 2-3 feet high," said Mike Stoutsenberger of the U.S. Forest Service.

A $3.5 million lounge area was set to open last week but that was delayed because of flooding concerns. Parts of it still look pretty but most is buried.

"It's so solid but none of this was here yesterday at this time," said Ray Johnson with the Forest Service.

Throughout our tour were rocks and fossils usually spotted miles away. Fires like the Carpenter One, which burned nearly 28,000 acres of Mount Charleston can leave lasting flash flood threats. The hardened soil doesn't absorb and water will rush down.

The worst-hit areas from the flooding were the areas already charred and blocked off from visitors and campers. Those areas open to camping are better protected from flooding.


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