Sen. Heller tours Mt. Charleston fire damage - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Sen. Heller tours Mt. Charleston fire damage

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Sen. Dean Heller speaks to the media at Centennial High School following his tour of Mount Charleston on Friday. (Les Krifaton/FOX5) Sen. Dean Heller speaks to the media at Centennial High School following his tour of Mount Charleston on Friday. (Les Krifaton/FOX5)
MT. CHARLESON (FOX5) -

Nevada's Sen. Dean Heller on Friday toured Mount Charleston for a firsthand look at the damage the Carpenter 1 fire has caused.

After Heller met with the media, reporters were escorted to an area of the mountain, where fire retardant is being made for helicopter crews to drop on the fire.

Heller assured those gathered that the Carpenter 1 fire and the Bison fire in northern Nevada have the attention of Washington lawmakers.

"This is a big job. This is a hard job," Heller said.

Heller toured parts of Kyle Canyon, taking time to speak with firefighters, as well as operations officials.

"I know a few structures did (succumb to the fire), and that is unfortunate, but the best news is that we didn't have any problems with any of our firemen and those working out there," Heller said.

More than 1,400 people are currently battling the wildfire, which has brought in fire-fighting specialists from all over the country to help.

"A little more than 10 percent of the hot shot crews in the nation are fighting this fire," Heller said.

Crews' efforts were hampered on Friday morning by unsettled weather, including some thunderstorms. At the fire retardant plant, crews were on standby, waiting for helicopters to get airborne again.

"The retardant is applied to specific areas that support the ground operations," air support supervisor Miles Hancock said. 

The retardant is a mix of water, fertilizer and red dye. The plant on Thursday produced 40,000 gallons. Helicopters can scoop up as much as 5,000 gallons of the retardant from a well per trip.

Helicopter pilots must rely on air traffic controllers, who are also flying over the fire.

Firefighters are hoping to have the fire contained sometime next week.

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