Vegas-Area Mountain Fire Seen as Threat to Species

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LAS VEGAS (AP) - An expert on rare butterflies in the mountains northwest of Las Vegas says a wildfire burning since July 1 on Mount Charleston could lead to extinction for several animal species found nowhere else on Earth.

Biologist Bruce Boyd tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal the 44-square-mile Carpenter 1 fire has burned through some of the richest animal and insect habitat in the area.

He compares the fire to a heart attack for the Spring Mountain range.

Federal wildlife officials were more measured in their assessment.

U.S. Forest Service biologist Jenny Ramirez calls the blaze catastrophic.

But she says common species like mule deer and mountain lions should be fine.

Ramirez agrees there's danger for several types of blue butterflies and the Palmer's chipmunk, an animal found only on Mount Charleston.