When you think of Las Vegas, what do you think of? Of all the things that come to mind, wildfire is probably not on the list.
On Monday, July 1st, a lightning fire started in Carpenter Canyon, on the east side of the Spring Mountains, between Las Vegas and a town called Pahrump. Within 48 hours, it grew to 1,000 acres. Five days later, estimates are 6,000 to 8000 acres.
Mandatory evacuations have displaced 520 people, who now wait to see what happens to their homes. And in the meantime, the Red Cross stands with them. Two Red Cross receptions centers have opened, one on each side of the mountain range, and residents are stopping by to visit, get information and track down friends and neighbors.
Pahrump resident and Red Cross volunteer Deb Lancaster observed, “Many of the people up there are staying with friends in town. Everybody knows everybody out here.” Still, meals and drinks are being served to those who come by for comfort and hope.
The canyons are rural neighborhoods, and there was fear for the animals and pets living there. The Red Cross has partnered with local government entities and other partner agencies that have brought out mobile shelters for smaller pets and trailers and trucks to help move horses and livestock to safe quarters.
Additionally, the Southern Nevada chapter has deployed workers to assist in the wildfires in Arizona. Our volunteers are not only supporting our community, but answering the call on a national level to help other communities as well.
Cristen Hodgers and three other Southern Nevadans were deployed to support the Grand Canyon chapter’s response in Kingman AZ as a shelter operations team, and were asked to pick up and move to another shelter. Before they left town, they stopped at a local Kingman restaurant. The team had lunch, and when they prepared to leave, their server told them that the servers, on their own, took up a collection to pay for the team’s lunches to show their appreciation for the team leaving home and coming to Kingman to help people who needed it. The team was told that they would not be receiving a bill. This was followed by several patrons getting up and thanking the Red Cross team, shaking hands, and asking how donations can be made to Red Cross Disaster Relief.
A humbling experience for both the workers and the citizens they serve. The American Red Cross works here. In communities. With our neighbors. Together.
Livestock, evacuations and wildfire. Not words that you think of when you think about Las Vegas.
To help those in our community who have been affected by this or other fires, please make a donation to Fire Hurts…Red Cross Helps at www.redcross.org/southernnevada or at (702) 369-3674.