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Dense smoke expected to linger until Sunday

Staff Reports
Smoke obscures the Douglas County Courthouse from Minden Park.
Kurt Hildebrand

A dense smoke advisory has been extended until 11 a.m. Sunday by the National Weather Service.

“Light westerly flow will continue to push smoke from the multiple ongoing California wildfires into the region,” forecasters said in the advisory, “and is forecast to settle in area valleys overnight. The poor conditions are expected to last through Sunday morning.”

Forecasters said conditions could improve in the afternoons in Nevada, but will deteriorate overnight as the smoke settles.

An air quality alert was issued on Friday for Douglas County by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection issued abased on current and forecast air pollution levels.

This alert means that sensitive groups (including elderly, children, and people with heart or lung disease) are susceptible to increased health risks.

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection predicted that air quality may reach unhealthy or very unhealthy levels in Douglas County.

Several wildfires throughout California are contributing to heavy smoke impacts in the Carson City and Minden-Gardnerville areas based on very fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels at the NDEP monitoring stations. Air quality in Minden-Gardnerville areas was at the “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” to “Unhealthy” range. Areas throughout Carson and Eagle Valleys can expect similar smoke impacts and poor air quality conditions overnight into Friday.

On Thursday, all outdoor fires, including campfires, bonfires, pit fires, charcoal fires, or any other open flame fires were banned on all private lands throughout Alpine County.

“Due to the pandemic, the visitor population in Alpine County has swelled to unprecedented levels as folks attempt to flee to the mountains as a ‘safe haven’ and escape from increased COVID risk in other jurisdictions,” Alpine Public Health Officer Richard Johnson said on Thursday. “As a consequence, EMS, fire, and law enforcement calls have stretched staff to the limits of our local capability. Therefore, in light of this increased visitor population, the lack of additional EMS, enforcement and firefighting resources, closure of all national forest areas, and extreme fire danger, I find it necessary to order this restriction on open fires in order to further reduce the likelihood of human-caused fires within Alpine County, and the consequent adverse effects on our resources and resident and visitor population.”

Alpine canceled its regular community coronavirus testing on Thursday.