As is custom when bidding farewell to a time period, reminiscing about the events and happenings that everyone shared in southern Nevada provides a sense of community and achievement. 2013 had some big headlines that impacted residents and made even the quotidian sights and sounds noteworthy.
Perhaps the most striking image of southern Nevada in 2013 was the Las Vegas Strip silhouetted by a monstrous plume of smoke that trailed across the desert sky. The Carpenter 1 fire on Mount Charleston drew local attention on the night of July 4th when the fireworks were not the only dazzling lights in the darkened night sky. When the fire raged on and began to consume more and more of the forest national attention to the smoke plume grew as well, with the tourist industry being most interested – many inquiring if this fire was close enough to the city that residents and visitors may be in danger.
The fire lasted nearly 3 weeks and consumed 28,000 acres of forest in the Spring Mountains and even began to encroach upon Red Rock Canyon NCA land before it was contained. Carpenter 1 was one of the highest ranked priority fires in the nation with a multitude of crews brought in to try and battle the flames. Nearby evacuations for Kyle Canyon residents caused a stir, the well-known Mount Charleston Lodge even had to evacuate with the fire lines threatening the popular summer retreat and hiking area.
The second biggest news story that impacted southern Nevada and the nation was the government shutdown that lasted from October 1st through the 16th. As a result of the political disagreement the National Park System had to close its lands to the public, for us here in southern Nevada that meant no more Lake Mead or Red Rock. Of course there are still bountiful tracts of public lands that were available for outdoor recreation, but an unlucky few decided to ford ahead into some of the closed lands and received hefty fines as a result. Luckily, Nevada’s State Parks such as the Valley of Fire profited for the time, with much of the traffic for the Grand Canyon and the Lake being diverted to its fiery refuge.
With such events transpiring to provide a year of events etched in the psyche of the southern Nevada community, the zeitgeist of 2013 certainly provided moments of ominous dread and joyous relief. Here’s to another year full of harrowing stories and the triumph of the human soul.