Smoke season arrives after late start

Northeast side of Forest Road 2N05 in the Bone Lightning Fire is dense with large woody debris. U.S. Forest Service photo

Northeast side of Forest Road 2N05 in the Bone Lightning Fire is dense with large woody debris. U.S. Forest Service photo

Air quality sensors in Carson Valley are starting to nudge toward moderate conditions as smoke season arrives in Western Nevada.

A permanent monitor at Ranchos Aspen Park registered an air quality index of 41, remaining in the good quality. The monitor hit a peak of 56 on Thursday morning.

Some low-cost sensors indicated moderate air quality of 54 on Friday morning.

On Thursday, Alpine County Public Health Officer Dr. Richard O. Johnson said that while the risk of wildland fire has decreased due to the last winter, the west slopes are covered in tall golden grass.

“Last evening as my wife and I were driving south on Highway 395, admiring the sunset and the mountains, she commented that the sky ‘looked smokey,’ and then stated, ‘And so it begins.’”

A fire burning near Yosemite National Park grew to 829 acres, approaching the point where firefighters will begin actively suppressing it.

The Bone fire has a line around 72 percent of its perimeter as of Friday morning, according to the Incident Management Situation Report.

Two hand crews and four engines are working on the fire that is being managed to thin vegetation and burn off fuels.

Started on June 15 by lightning, the fire is located near Cherry Lake Reservoir on the west side of the park.

It’s not the only fire burning south of Carson Valley, where prevailing winds typically deliver smoke.

A 160-acre Lucky fire burning in the Aurora Crater south of Hawthorne is 45 percent contained, according to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.

The crater is a quarter-million year old breached volcano surrounded by lava flows, which create difficult terrain for firefighters to work in.

“Crews are going slow and relying heavily on aviation support to cool off the edge,” according to the last report.

A total of 125 personnel, including four hand crews, two engines and four helicopters are working the blaze, with four single-engine tankers available if needed.

The fire is burning 10 miles northeast of Bodie State Park and 20 miles southwest of Hawthorne.

None of the fires are generating anywhere near the smoke levels the Valley saw in 2021 when big fires surrounded the region.

Resources to track air quality and wildfires include


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