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Progress reported, but crews still working wildfires in southern Nevada, near Lake Tahoe

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LAS VEGAS — Fire crews are making progress on a dozen small wildfires in southern Nevada, with an end likely in sight for the fire south of Lake Tahoe near the California border that has been burning for weeks.

Two of the 12 small fires caused by lightning this week in the Red Rock Conservation and Spring Mountains areas northwest of Las Vegas are expected to be contained Friday, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Ray Johnson said.

Both are under a square mile in size, including a 3.5-acre blaze near Harris Springs and another behind the Red Rock Conservation area that is at a tenth of an acre.

The other six that started Thursday in the Red Rock Conservation and Spring Mountains areas and the four in the Spring Mountains area that started Wednesday are now contained.

Fire crews are preparing for the worst, as lightning may be possible during the Fourth of July holiday weekend following the recording-breaking heat recorded in June, Johnson said.

"It's very dry, and people need to use common sense in wildlife type areas," he said. "Cigarettes, people target shooting — the smallest little spark could start a fire."

Around northern Nevada, officials are planning on Sunday to downgrade the fire-response team for the 27-square mile fire south of Lake Tahoe, which was started in June by lightning. It's estimated that the fire near the small California town of Markleeville will be fully contained by the end of the month.

Rain and cool weather have helped that cause, but nearly 500 firefighters are still working to secure fire lines against smoldering underbrush.

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