Tuesday, July 16, 2013 | 10 p.m.
Firefighters continued to make progress on the once-rampant wildfire on Mount Charleston Tuesday containing 85 percent of the nearly 28,000-acre fire.
The 16-day fire that has scorched acres upon acres of forest and vegetation has dwindled into a creeping, smoldering flame. Only a few flames remain near Carpenter Canyon and the South Loop trail, said Kerri Paniagua-Smith, a public information officer with the incident management team.
The threat from the fire that has cost about $17.8 million is almost gone, said incident management team officials.
As a result, Kyle Canyon residents and employees remain on track to return at 10 a.m. Wednesday to their homes and businesses. About 400 people were evacuated from the area on July 4 due to the danger posed by the fire. The flames ended up destroying six structures in Prospect Springs Ranch, but spared the Kyle Canyon homes about five miles northeast.
Those returning to the fully intact community must provide proof of residency at a checkpoint at Kyle Canyon Road and Scottie Road. About 30 residents in Trout and Lovell canyons were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday, while Lee Canyon residents returned on Monday.
Meanwhile firefighting efforts continued to scale down. About 720 firefighters remained battling the fire Tuesday night dropping from more than 800 on Monday, Paniagua-Smith said. Fire operations are also scheduled to transition from an incident command team to a smaller operation run by local authorities on Friday as well.
Fire crews hope to reach 90 percent containment by Wednesday. Then it will be up to the rain and snow to snuff out any smoldering flames remaining in the higher elevations.