Carson Valley residents got a break from the smoke on Thursday after experiencing a day that saw the sky turn an angry red on Tuesday and prompted the streetlights to come on early.
According to a National Weather Service statement issued on Thursday, forecasting models indicate smoke will be returning to Western Nevada starting mid- to late-Friday.
“West to southwest winds are projected to continue through the weekend, therefore smoke and haze should be expected across the region, assuming the California fires remain active,” forecasters said.
Air quality was in the moderate range in the Gardnerville Ranchos at lunchtime on Thursday while visibility at Minden-Tahoe Airport was at 10 miles.
The Caldor and Dixie fires are both burning huge swaths of the Sierra.
As of Thursday morning, the Caldor Fire burning 30 miles southwest of Minden had grown to 65,475 acres and was at zero percent containment.
A red flag warning was in effect for most of Wednesday with shifting winds. Two people were hospitalized among evacuating residents, who packed narrow roads through the region in order to flee the blaze.
The fire could close Highway 50 at some point, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The Dixie Fire added another 35,896 acres to the 662,747 acres it has already scorched northwest of Reno.
Highway 395 north of Reno remains closed as the fire jumped the route at Honey Lake.
Air quality in Carson Valley went from relatively clear on Tuesday morning to hazardous by 5 p.m., according to a monitor at Ranchos Aspen Park due mostly to the Calder Fire.
Tuesday’s red flag warning prompted NV Energy to alert residents between Genoa and Clear Creek of the first public safety outage in the region. Designed to prevent power lines from setting additional fires, the company declared an imminent outage in Nevada’s oldest town that would start 11 a.m. There was a trailer full of ice and a portable cell tower set up at the Genoa Volunteer Fire Department on Tuesday as the company prepared to provide residents with cell phone charging and Wi-Fi.
Robocalls made to power customers between Genoa and Clear Creek said that the outage could last until Wednesday night.
But forecast gusty winds never really developed, and the outage was delayed to 4-8 p.m. and then canceled around 5 p.m.
While smoke from the Calder contributed to the apocalyptic feel in Carson Valley, the anticipated outage was entirely due to the wind which was supposed to arrive before lunchtime and last through 11 p.m.
Today, Douglas County commissioners are scheduled to discuss waiving building fees for owners of the 11 homes that were destroyed and two damaged in the 68,637-acre Tamarack Fire.
The cost to the county is estimated at $100,000 if all the displaced residents decide to rebuild.
A small fire started by lightning in Fay Luther Canyon near Jobs Peak on Friday night was doused by Tuesday. A team of smoke jumpers was helicoptered in to extinguish a burning tree.