- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 3, 2016

RENO, Nev. (AP) - A break in the windy weather helped firefighters in northwest Nevada make more progress Wednesday on two large wildfires sparked by lightning nearly a week ago on high-desert rangeland north of Reno.

One set of fires was about 41 percent contained but continued to sweep across more than 84 square miles in the Virginia Mountains near Pyramid Lake 40 miles north of Reno, fire officials said.

The other fire, farther north near Poodle Mountain, was 80 percent contained, said Terah Malsam, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Recent maps put it at 10.25 square miles, up from about 8 square miles, in a wilderness study area about 20 miles northwest of Gerlach near where the annual Burning Man counterculture festival is held.

Fire crews got a break when winds forecast to gust up to 35 mph late Tuesday and early Wednesday never made it to the fire lines, Malsam said.

“That helped a lot,” she said Wednesday.

No new injuries were reported among the more than 1,100 firefighters working to contain the two fires, and neither fire was threatening structures. Two minor firefighter injuries were reported earlier.

Fire officials said there was at least one unmanned drone aircraft incursion into airspace restricted for the safety of helicopters and air tankers in the area. Flight operations were not suspended, but officials warned on the incident website that “drone interference is becoming a significant issue on wildfires.”

Pyramid Lake remained closed so aircraft can use it to scoop water to fight the fires, said Scott Carey, business manager for the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

Carey corrected earlier reports about the number of structures lost during the weekend in and around the shoreline town of Sutcliffe - three unoccupied mobile homes in Sutcliffe, two inoperable vehicles and one unoccupied house and several outbuildings at nearby Hardscrabble ranch. No serious injuries were reported.

In eastern Nevada, a federal Bureau of Land Management spokesman reported full containment of a 1.3-square-mile wildfire sparked by lightning Friday on public rangeland about 95 miles northeast of Las Vegas.

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