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Wildfire burning in Red Rock Canyon area now 40% contained

A fire that started in an area of Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area on Monday is now 40 percent contained.

The Cottonwood Valley Fire is now at 373 acres, down from about 400 acres Monday night. It was first reported shortly after 11 a.m. on Monday. Full containment is expected by Friday, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

No injuries have been reported and no structures have been threatened by the fire, according to the bureau. The fire had briefly caused state Route 160 to close on Monday afternoon.

The cause of the fire, which is not burning within the Red Rock Canyon scenic loop, is unknown. More than 180 firefighters are working to suppress the fire, the bureau said.

The Cottonwood Valley fire marked the second fire to break out just west of Las Vegas since Thursday, when target shooting sparked a wildfire that has burned about 1,380 acres. The separate Sandy Valley fire was 94 percent contained as of Monday night, and is expected to be fully contained by Thursday.

Bureau of Land Management spokesperson Kirsten Cannon said investigators can conclude target shooting as a cause for wildfires by examining burn-pattern indicators on surfaces.

“In some cases, the ignition area will have physical evidence,” she said. “Specifically for shooting-ignited fires, bullet fragments that strike hard surfaces can exceed 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit which is well above the temperature required to ignite drought-stressed vegetation.”

The Sandy Valley fire was started in an area where target shooting is legal, she said.

Tyler Hecht, a fire management officer for the bureau’s Southern Nevada district, advised in a news release that people should avoid steel core ammunition and exploding targets when target shooting and use propane stoves instead of campfires when utilizing public lands. Hecht also said people should not use fireworks of any kind.

Contact Jonah Dylan at jdylan@reviewjournal.com. Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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