Dealer’s Choice: Smoke or thunderstorms |

Dealer’s Choice: Smoke or thunderstorms

Cows graze in smoky conditions in Carson Valley.

Smoke from the Ferguson Fire continued to cast a pall on Carson Valley on Saturday morning, while quickly developing thunderstorms are expected to clear it out in the afternoon.

Forecasters warned that thunderstorms are developing over the Sierra this afternoon, with a chance of a few strong thunderstorms likely by mid-afternoon. Storms could bring heavy rainfall, hail and winds of up to 50 mph.

Firefighters responded to a half dozen reports of fires in the Sierra Front. The largest between China Spring Youth Camp at Highway 395 was controlled at 6.3 acres. That fire started at 2 p.m. A single-tree fire near Pinenut Road and Blue Sage was also brought under control.

Firefighters were responding at 1 p.m. Saturday to a report of smoke on the east side of Topaz Lake. East Fork was also investigating a report of smoke above Stockyard Road in the Pine Nuts. There’s a possibility more fires could appear as the conditions dry out and winds pick up.

Air quality in the Carson Valley dropped to into the moderate range on Saturday as smoke from the Ferguson Fire burning west of Yosemite continued to pour into the Valley.

That fire has consumed 42 square miles of steep rugged terrain that is complicating efforts to contain it.

While federal officials estimate they’ll have a line around the fire by the end of the month, it is so far only 7 percent contained.

In the week since the fire started, it has cost $16.6 million to fight.

Cows graze in smoky conditions in Carson Valley.