Forest fires in the Red Rock Canyon area are now 40% under control

A fire that started on Monday in an area of ​​the Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is now 40% under control.

The Cottonwood Valley fire now covers 373 acres, up from around 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 were reported and no structures were threatened by the fire, according to the office. The fire briefly caused the closure of national road 160 on Monday afternoon.

The cause of the fire, which does not burn in the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Loop, is unknown. More than 180 firefighters are working to put out the blaze, the office said.

The Cottonwood Valley fire marked the second blaze to break out just west of Las Vegas since Thursday, when target shooting sparked a wildfire that burned approximately 1,380 acres. The separate Sandy Valley fire was 94% under control on Monday evening and is expected to be fully contained by Thursday.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Kirsten Cannon said investigators can conclude target shooting is the cause of wildfires by examining indicators of burns on surfaces.

“In some cases, the ignition zone will have physical evidence,” she said. “Particularly for fires started by gunfire, bullet fragments hitting 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 official for the Southern Nevada District office, advised in a press release that people should avoid steel-core munitions and targets that explode during target shooting and use propane stoves instead of campfires when using public lands. Hecht also said that people should not use fireworks of any kind.

Contact Jonah Dylan at Follow @TheJonahDylan on Twitter.

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