LAUGHLIN — Firefighters from nearly a dozen area agencies worked overnight to bring a brush fire under control just south of the Avi Resort & Casino in southern Laughlin.
The fire erupted around 6:15 p.m. Friday on tribal land south of Aztec Road and burned southward into California. At its zenith, flames were visible for several miles and smoke was seen by people more than 20 miles away.
“It was human caused,” said Don Gibson, fire marshal for the Mohave Valley Fire Department. “It started with fireworks.”
Gibson said that “a couple of subjects” had been interviewed.
“We’re waiting for some more information before the (Fort Mojave Indian) Tribal Police Department decides whether they are going to cite or arrest them.”
Crews from the Mohave Valley, Fort Mojave Mesa, Bullhead City, Oatman, Golden Valley, Golden Shores, Desert Hills and Pinion Pines fire departments in Arizona were joined by crews from the Clark County Fire Department in Nevada, multiple crews from the San Bernardino County Fire Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management units from Kingman and Las Vegas in battling the blaze that consumed about 45 acres of brush and trees. Gibson estimated that 70 firefighters were on the scene at one time or another.
Emergency personnel cleared the auxiliary parking lot, used by big rigs, on the south side of Aztec and temporarily closed a
portion of the road from the southern Avi entrance to Aha Macav Parkway, giving responding vehicles better access to the area of the fire. The tribal parkway, which forms a loop from the Nevada side of Needles Highway north of the Avi to the California side of the highway south of the resort property, was restricted to emergency personnel south of Aztec. It reopened early Saturday.
By early Saturday morning, the fire had been contained and was limited primarily to the land immediately south of the Avi. By midday Saturday, crews were watching over hot spots and conducting mop-up operations, making sure there were no flare-ups.
“We got a wet line completely around it,” Gibson said.
He said there previously was a fire in the same area in “1995 or 1996” that took almost the same path, burning in both Nevada and California.
He also said it was a stark reminder of the dangers of fireworks, especially in areas that haven’t seen substantial rainfall in five months.
“What carried this fire was the fine fuels — the dried area grasses,” Gibson said. “It carried this fire from one place to the next. It’s so dry out there.”
He added that burn bans in various areas should be followed.
“Just because certain fireworks are legal doesn’t mean they are legal right now,” he said.
He said that the weather — light winds and temperatures under 100 degrees — helped.
“If anything, (the wind) helped us,” he said. “It was blowing to the north and slowed it down.”