Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area had a fire started by lightning at 11:20 a.m. Wednesday it had charred as many as 800 acres of Red Rock real estate by nightfall and prompted the closure of a section of state Route 159. By nightfall the fire had burned up to 800 acres.
Fire crews requested the closure of Route 159 from about a half mile east of the Red Rock visitors center to Blue Diamond Road because the fire began moving toward the roadway.
The fire, which was about 1 1/2 miles away from the Red Rock visitors center, was about 40 percent contained at 6 p.m. The Red Rock visitors center and the Red Rock Canyon scenic loop were closed shortly after the fire started.
They were a handful of out-of-state tourists gathered near the Red Rock Scenic Overlook on Wednesday to snap photographs of their families with the fast-moving wildfire as a backdrop.
The outdoors crowd had to find a new vantage point in the evening, however, because authorities closed the overlook after the fire continued to grow. People from Summerlin Las Vegas and surrounding Summerlin real estate could see the flames.
It is the second large wildfire in Red Rock this year, she said.
In July, lightning started eight wildfires in the national recreation area, forcing a closure of the area. There also have been smaller wildfires in Red Rock this year, but they were quickly extinguished.
In July 2005, lightning started a wildfire in Red Rock Canyon that burned 1,500 acres and caused a voluntary evacuation of approximately 25 homes in Calico Basin, on the eastern edge of the Red Rock National Conservation Area.
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Red Rock Canyon had 800 acres on fire wednesday inside Red Rock real estate.