Smoke, haze to linger for a few days |

Smoke, haze to linger for a few days

David Mirhadi
Appeal City Editor
Kevin Clifford/Nevada AppealThe sun sets behind the ferris wheel at the Reno Rodeo on Monday. Smoke from the California fires has caused the sun to appear bright orange and red during sunrises and sunsets.

A haze is expected to linger over Carson City and Northern Nevada for at least the next two days, as wind-blown smoke from lightning-induced wildfires in California continues to drift east over the Silver State.

That means people with pre-existing breathing problems should stay indoors, and those who like to do outdoor activities should do them early, before the smoke settles each day, according to health-care practitioners.

The National Weather Service is predicting that the smoke from the fires will linger at least through today, with wind speeds projected at 10 mph.

To clear, winds blowing to the east should blow faster, which probably isn’t going to happen, said Rudy Cruz, weather service specialist with the Reno office of the National Weather Service.

The smoke from hundreds of lightning-induced fires in California extends into Winnemucca and Elko County, Cruz said.

Fires were burning in spots from Monterey County in California to the Oregon border.

Those fires were making the skies over much of Northern Nevada brown, leaving horizons with a sepia-toned look and creating problems for those who have difficulty breathing.

The Nevada Department of Environmental Protection took readings Tuesday afternoon to measure particulate matter in the air.

The standard for particulate matter is 35 micrograms per cubic meter. The first reading Tuesday morning in Carson City registered 29.5 micrograms per cubic meter. The standard in Gardnerville on Tuesday was 37 micrograms per cubic meter, said spokesman Dante Pistone.

Particulate readings are taken hourly, and then averaged over a full 24 hours.

The Air Quality Management Division of the Washoe District Health Department declared Tuesday’s air “unhealthy” for the Reno-Sparks area.

This means those with respiratory problems should stay indoors for the next few days, said Steve Kessinger, a respiratory care practitioner at Carson-Tahoe Regional Medical Center.

While nurses at the hospital’s emergency room didn’t notice an increase in admissions, Kessinger said that might occur as today and tomorrow, though there’s no way of predicting what might happen.

“It depends on whether people pay attention to the warnings,” he said.

Symptoms include sneezing, watery eyes, skin irritation and shortness of breath.

“They just have a feeling that they’re not breathing well,” he said.

– Contact reporter David Mirhadi at or 881-1261.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.