Containment expected on wildfire in eastern Nevada

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Firefighters expect containment during the weekend of a lightning-sparked wildfire that grew Friday to almost 19 square miles in eastern Nevada, while officials are allowing a smaller 50-acre fire to burn in the vast Desert National Wildlife Refuge north of Las Vegas.

Firefighters reached 75 percent containment Friday and expected containment by nightfall Saturday of the Vigo Fire in and around the remote Meadow Valley Wilderness area some 20 miles south of the town of Caliente, Bureau of Land Management spokesman Chris Hanefeld in Ely said.

"The fire continues to creep and smolder," Hanefeld said, adding that there had been no injuries reported among the 180 state, federal and local firefighters and support personnel working to quell the fire. No structures or homes were threatened.

The fire topped 12,000 acres Thursday after being sparked Monday in the Kane Springs area about 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas, Hanefeld said.

No people, structures, roads or infrastructure were at risk from the unnamed 50-acre fire burning in rugged terrain at an elevation of about 7,000 feet in the Sheep Mountains, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokesman Dan Balduini said Friday.

A lightning strike several days ago may have sparked the fire below Hayford Peak and west of Mormon Pass, Balduini said.

Smoke was visible Thursday and Friday from Las Vegas.

But Balduini said fire management officials determined there was no danger as the fire was spread slowly through grass, juniper and widely spaced ponderosa pine stands in the sprawling 1.6-million acre wildlife refuge.

The endangered desert tortoise doesn't live at that elevation above sea level, and desert bighorn sheep and other wildlife would easily be able to avoid the fire, Balduini said.

"There's really no risk to anyone or anything," Balduini said. "They're going to keep an eye on it. But winds are light and at this point and it's helping to manage fuel load."

"It's really beneficial to the area," he said.


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