Officials: Wildfire in Mojave Desert on path to enter Clark County

The Clark County Fire Department is stationing a mobile command near the Nevada-California state line and “preparing to go on the offensive to protect residential areas,” as the York Fire originating in Mojave National Preserve is on it way to the county near Nipton and Searchlight, officials said Sunday.

The York Fire that erupted Friday near the remote Caruthers Canyon area of the preserve was sending up a huge plume of smoke visible nearly 100 miles away across the state line in Nevada. 

It has been causing traffic delays and smoky skies in the Las Vegas Valley since Saturday afternoon. The fire has reached 70,000 acres as of Sunday afternoon.

Clark County Fire is working closely with the Bureau of Land Management and San Bernardino County to contain the fire, which is spreading rapidly Sunday amid erratic winds.

The county is advising motorists to avoid State Route 164.

Flames 20 feet high in some spots have charred more than 110 square miles of desert scrub, juniper and Joshua tree woodland, according to a Sunday incident update.

“The dry fuel acts as a ready ignition source, and when paired with those weather conditions it results in long-distance fire run and high flames, leading to extreme fire behavior,” the update said. 

The update continued, “The focus today is on containment and suppression efforts, this is critical to limit the fire’s spread. The continued use of aircraft will be for fire retardant drops, and water drops to try and assist in slowing down the fire’s progression and allow the ground crews the ability to create containment lines. The fire retardant helps to reduce the fire’s intensity and limit its ability to spread further.”

Firefighters in California reported progress against another major blaze to the southwest of the York Fire that prompted evacuations.

The Bonny Fire was holding steady at about 3.4 square miles in rugged hills of Riverside County. More than 1,300 people were ordered to evacuate their homes Saturday near the remote community of Aguanga.

Windy conditions and the chance of thunderstorms into Monday will heighten the risk of renewed growth, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

One firefighter was injured in the blaze, which was 5% contained Sunday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Mike McNamara

Mike McNamara

A Las Vegas Realtor since 2008. Mike has a wide range of knowledge around all things Las Vegas.

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