| LAS VEGAS, July 12
LAS VEGAS, July 12 Clouds, cooler air and summer
rain have helped firefighters gain ground against a wildfire in
mountains outside Las Vegas, officials said on Friday.
The blaze, sparked by lightning on July 1, has charred more
than 28,000 acres of pinyon-juniper woodlands popular as an
outdoor getaway by residents of Nevada's biggest metropolitan
Firefighters were able to build containment lines around
more than 40 percent of the fire's perimeter after up to a half
inch of rain fell through parts of Kyle Canyon on Thursday and
cloud cover brought cooler weather.
"It was a much better day," said Suzanne Shelp, spokeswoman
for the U.S. Forest Service's fire incident management team,
adding that temperatures were expected to remain cooler on
Friday, at around 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
"We're not expecting much more help from rain," Shelp added.
The Carpenter 1 blaze raging in the Spring Mountains
National Recreation Area was one of more than a dozen burning
across the United States. Experts say this could be one of the
worst U.S. fire seasons on record.
In recent weeks, a Colorado wildfire ranked as that state's
most destructive on record ravaged more than 500 homes and
killed two people. In Arizona, 19 members of an elite "hotshots"
crew died while battling a separate fire on June 30.
In Nevada, 12 "hotshot" U.S. fire crews have been called to
battle the fire, which the National Interagency Fire Center in
Idaho has considered for several days the top priority fire in
Firefighting efforts have cost nearly $12 million to date,
Shelp said. The blaze at times has sent plumes of smoke over the
greater Las Vegas metropolitan area. Six buildings, including at
least one commercial structure, were destroyed on Tuesday,
Northern Nevada has lost about 25,000 acres to another fire
sparked by lightning on July 4 in Douglas County. That fire was
also about 40 percent contained as of Friday.
(Editing by Cynthia Johnston; Editing by David Gregorio)