The Caldor Fire burning southwest of Carson City is fueling widespread haze and smoke in northwestern Nevada. The National Weather Service has no reliable estimate for when air quality will return to a healthy range.
The National Weather Service in Reno has no estimate for when Carson City will catch a break from wildfire haze and smoke.
The air quality index for the capital has been higher than 100 every day but two days since Aug. 5.
Scott McGuire, NWS meteorologist, told the Appeal the air quality this upcoming week will remain in the unhealthy to hazardous range. The city will continue to see persistent ash, smoke and haze, with no rain.
The NWS detailed forecast predicts sunny and clear conditions behind the smoke, with highs in the 80s and 90s, and lows in the 50s.
Breezy afternoon winds may thin the smoke along Western Nevada. However, a special weather statement issued by the NWS on Sunday says, “exactly where and for how long remains low confidence.”
While the Tamarack Fire has reached over 80 percent containment at 68,637 acres, the Caldor Fire is still under 10 percent contained at 117,704 acres, according to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group’s Incident Information Center. The two are south and southwest of Carson City, respectively, and are blowing smoke directly toward Northern and Western Nevada, and beyond.
“If you had to pick a spot to not have a fire start… it would be right where the Caldor Fire is,” McGuire said.
He urged residents to refrain from outdoor activity, especially strenuous outdoor activity.
“The air quality that we’re dealing with, when it hits that hazardous category, it’s hazardous for everybody,” not just those with health or respiratory ailments, he said.
Facial masks may block the large, visible ash particles, but they do not filter the fine particles, which can cause respiratory damage.
The Carson City School District is monitoring the daily air quality index through the U.S. EPA “Air Now” website. The district released a statement saying it would close schools if the website predicts an all-day AQI above 400 and the quality is already above 400 at 5:30 a.m., and they will cancel or relocate outdoor activities if the AQI remains above 150.
Nevada State Parks has also closed Lake Tahoe parks due to poor air quality, according to a press release. Parks employees will continue to monitor fire and air conditions, and they anticipate reopening on Aug. 27, depending on conditions. The closure includes all Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park management units: Sand Harbor; Spooner Lake; Spooner Backcountry, including Marlette/Hobart Backcountry; Cave Rock; Van Sickle.
Nevada State Parks will continue to monitor the fire and air quality conditions and re-open the parks when it is safe to do so. Visit parks.nv.gov for updates on park closures.
Air Now has published recommendations for living with persistent smoke:
• Stay indoors, preferably somewhere with filtered air. Keep activity levels low.
• For those who do not have access to filtered air, keep the windows closed and create a clean room for sleeping. Consider purchasing an electronic or mechanical air cleaner.
• Don’t smoke.
• Avoid vacuuming – this stirs up particles.
• Avoid using anything that burns, including fireplaces, gas logs, and candles.
• Once air quality improves, open windows to air out the home.
Additionally, residents who need to take pets outside should minimize the time they spend outdoors and keep their animals indoors as much as possible.
For free and low-cost indoor activities offered by the city, visit carson.org and navigate to Parks, Recreation & Open Space page. The Carson City Public Library, Multi-Purpose Athletic Center, and indoor pools at the Aquatic Center are all open.
For information about the air quality, additional guidance for buying air filters, and more, visit airnow.gov.
The Caldor Fire has made some significant runs in different areas but firefighters were able to engage in direct control due to calming fire behavior, the Tahoe Tribune reported.
Officials added that spot fires broke out through the evening on the northeast flank, the edge closest to Tahoe.
The personnel fighting the blaze have jumped to 2,119. There are 212 engines, 26 water tenders, 22 helicopters, 50 hand crews, 51 dozers and numerous air tankers from throughout the state are flying suppression missions as conditions allow.
The number of single residences destroyed is up to 455, 11 commercial properties are gone, 166 minor structures have burned and 34 structures are damaged. The injuries remain at two.
Overall, 29,965 El Dorado County residents have been evacuated from their homes.
The Caldor Fire is the No. 1 priority wildfire in the country and firefighters are battling to keep flames from advancing on the northeastern front and into the Lake Tahoe Basin.
Officials on Monday during an evening briefing said it was a “huge priority” and “our ultimate goal” to keep fire away from Lake Tahoe.
The blaze that began 10 days ago on Aug. 14 from unknown circumstances.