Posts Tagged ‘Fires’


Too Close For Comfort

June 29, 2008


Pictures from my balcony deck

I was standing on my deck overlooking the mountains when a small plane, a Piper-Cherokee, came in over the tree tops not 100 feet away from my house.  It was apparent that they were attempting to make an emergency landing. If they had been able to travel another 300 feet they might have made it to the Mary Jane Falls trail parking area, but the left wing hit an electrical pole and that pulled the plane left and down into the ground and it exploded instantly.  Fuel went into the air and started fires over a hundred feet from the crash site.  By the time a fire truck was on the scene many more were needed and it got out of control quickly.  Metro police didn’t arrive until much later, and there was chaos everywhere with tourists running through the woods right next to the fire.  The plane was completely charred and almost unrecognizable. The heat from the fire was oppressive and I could feel the intensity over 300 feet away.  I watched as 90ft. pine trees went up as if they were doused in gasoline.  

It is apparent we are not prepared as well as we should be up here in Mt. Charleston on the weekends with the large increase in visitors and no local authorities patrolling. I gave up complaining at town meetings years ago.  Nothing was ever done because there were too many entities that thought the other ones should be responsible, so essentially no one did anything. The Forest Service, the Metropolitan police, the State Parks person, the Mt. Charleston committee, the Clark County Commissioners..etc. (Get the idea?) In the snows of winter, utter chaos ensues. Why?-No patrols.  In the summer, an overload from the Vegas valley below.  Families will pull into vacant houses and use them as if they were their own, setting up a barbeque and using the outdoor patio, tables and chairs.  If we neighbors didn’t police ourselves no one would. 

Eventually, we were told to evacuate the scene at approximately 6pm and I left rather than chance the possibility of smoke inhalation if the wind had shifted in the night.  There were no survivors of the four people in the plane. 

Only in Nevada do we allow unpatrolled large recreational acreage that is also extremely fragile and extreme fire hazards as well.  Only in Nevada do we allow the sale of fireworks in a dry desert on the week preceding July 4th, and allow airspace above impossible terrain to maintain, to be used by anyone that can fly a plane.  This one came within a hundred feet to have destroyed my home and many others around me.  So where’s our protection?  You can’t smoke in a bar without the health police fining the establishment, but you can destroy an entire fragile environment with the government’s blessing.  It’s a wayward cowboy mentality.  Use it, abuse it, and the hell with anyone else.  If there was a single desert tortoise involved, holy hell would break loose and there would be a bevy of BLM busybodies bitching and bellowing.

Ah yes, the twisted contemporary attitude of the New West.

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