Smoke obscures the Carson Range from Alpine View on Wednesday morning.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.
Moderate air quality and smoky skies could clear out when the wind picks up as a cold front arrives in Western Nevada.
Sensors in the northern portion of Carson Valley are generally reading in the moderate range, though Ranchos Aspen Park’s sensor is back down in the good range as of 9 a.m. after a smoky night.
The automated weather system at Minden-Tahoe Airport showed visibility down to 6 miles for short periods around 6:35 a.m. and 8:35 a.m.
“We’ll first need to deal with a few more days of continued reduced air quality due to surrounding wildfires, strong winds and critical fire weather conditions in the inner basins and ranges,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Colin McKellar said on Thursday.
The largest of the fires and the least contained is the Smith River Complex on the California-Oregon line, which is at 131 square miles as of 9 a.m. Around 3,000 firefighters have a line around 8 percent of the fire which started during an Aug. 15 lightning storm that saw around 150 strikes.
The Happy Camp Fire smaller fire is burning 25,503 acres in the Klamath National Forest. Firefighters have a line around 45 percent of the blaze, which was started by the same lightning storm.
Unlike further south, the Klamath Basin received around average moisture during the winter. Conditions further north were even drier.
A lake wind advisory goes into effect at noon today, lasting through 11 p.m., for southwest winds 15-25 mph, gusting to 33 mph later this afternoon.
The wind should help clear the smoke coming from fires burning in far northern California.
“Winds throughout the area will steadily ramp up as the day progresses,” McKellar said. “By this afternoon, wind gusts upwards of 35 mph will be common in Western Nevada and the Tahoe Basin with wind gusts of 50-60 mph along the Sierra ridges.”
A red flag warning was issued for the windy portion of the incoming storm noon to 9 p.m. today in the Humboldt Basin in Pershing County extending north to the state line.