Genoa, Nev. — Increased activity on the Mosquito Fire sent smoke pouring into the Tahoe Basin and Carson Valley with hazardous conditions continuing into this morning. Zephyr Cove Elementary School and George Whittell High School have closed due to poor air quality in the Basin for Monday. All other Douglas County schools are open today.
The Minden air quality index is at 377, 361 in Topaz Ranch Estates and 407 in Genoa as of 5 a.m. today, and those weren’t even the peaks. That Minden gauge peaked at 451 at 10 p.m. Sunday. The smoke prompted the National Weather Service in Reno to issue a special weather statement this morning.
Visibility at Minden-Tahoe Airport dropped to 2 miles or less at 6:35 p.m. and pretty much stayed there all night. This morning it’s down to 1.5 miles with no wind to help clear it out.
Officially, the Mosquito Fire grew nearly 13,000 acres over the last 24 hours to hit 72.8 square miles. The maps on the Fire Information for Resource Management System website is indicating the fire affects closer to 50,000 acres with active burning on the eastern front this morning.
The fire took off on Sunday afternoon after the inversion lifted, requiring the 2,400 firefighters to resort to indirect tactics like cutting new fire line and clearing overgrown old burns in places. The fire remained at 10 percent containment last night. More than 11,000 people are out of their homes. So far fighting the fire has burned through $15.4 million.
Members of the Douglas County Senior Services and Public Transit Advisory Board are meeting 8:15 a.m. where they’ll review the volunteer policy. Genoans approved an agreement with the county last week to deal with Candy Dance volunteers.
The Water Conveyance Committee will discuss the changes to the ditch that literally passes through the Copeland Building. A new culvert was funded through federal grants. They just need to figure out how to get it installed. The committee meets 4 p.m. in Room 306 of the Minden Inn.
Forecasters are betting there will be some improvement in air quality late this morning and into early afternoon before another wave rolls in this afternoon and evening as the pattern continues.
There’s a chance of thunderstorms between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. today, which might help. The high temperature is forecast to hit 83 degrees with the wind picking up out of the west at 10-15 mph gusting to 25 mph.
Kurt Hildebrand is editor of The Record-Courier. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 775-782-5122