Smoke lingering in Carson Valey today | RecordCourier.com
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Smoke lingering in Carson Valey today

Smoke did what the coronavirus couldn’t with Carson Valley students staying home and distance learning on Thursday instead of going to school.

In Woodfords, coronavirus testing was canceled due to the smoke, and plans to host an event at Heritage Park Gardens tonight was postponed until Aug. 29.

The smoke didn’t deter wine walkers from turning out in Gardnerville on Thursday evening.

“We have hosted Wine Walks with smoke in the past,” Main Street Gardnerville Executive Director Matt Bruback said on Thursday. “One business told me they get enough customers to get their rent paid from our event.”

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

Smoke from fires burning in northeastern California has migrated south into Carson Valley and the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“Smoke, including thicker particulate matter from active fires across California, will continue to pour into the area,” forecasters said. “Air quality may fluctuate, but is expected to remain unhealthy until at least (this) morning.”

East Fork Fire Protection District responded to a few calls for people with difficulty breathing on Thursday.

Air quality improved for a few hours early Friday morning after being in the unhealthy range for most of Thursday.

Minden-Tahoe Airport recorded visibility of 3 miles on Thursday morning. By Friday, visibility was back up to 10 miles but was decreasing.

At 2 p.m., air quality in the Gardnerville Ranchos was at moderate levels.

One of the major sources of smoke in Western Nevada has been the Loyalton Fire burning northwest of Reno.

As of Friday morning, the 47,000-acre fire was 60 percent contained as crews worked through the night to douse hotspots.

But Loyalton wasn’t the only source of smoke from California.

Just south of Susanville, the North Complex of fires has burned 10,382 acres.

As of Friday morning, the 7,150-acre Sheep Fire, the 3,101-acre Claremont Fire and the Bear Fire was at 250 acres, and have zero percent containment.

The W-5 Cold Spring Fire has burned 5,100 acres in northeastern Lassen County.

Increased risk of wildfire prompted the Tahoe-Douglas Fire Protection District to ban open burning of wood and charcoal and suspend all outdoor open flames, including gas grills and smokers, during red flag warnings.

Fire Marshal Eric Guevin asked that residents exercise caution with fires.

“While most all of us enjoy a campfire or recreational fire in our backyard, currently the risk is just too great, and this small action can lead to a catastrophic fire endangering the lives, property and the forest,” Guevin said.

The American Heart Association in Reno reported that wildfire smoke can lead to a 70 percent in crease in out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.

“Particulate matter from smoke that is inhaled can penetrate deeply into the lungs, and very small particles may cross into the bloodstream. These particles can create an inflammatory reaction in the lungs and throughout the body,” Ana G. Rappold, one of the study’s authors, said.

Rappold is a research scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment in the Office of Research and Development.

“The body’s defense system may react to activate the fight-or-flight system, increasing heart rate, constricting blood vessels and increasing blood pressure. These changes can lead to disturbances in the heart’s normal rhythm, blockages in blood vessels and other effects creating conditions that could lead to cardiac arrest.”

The researchers advise avoiding activities that involve exertion and exposure when there is wildfire smoke. They suggest people stay inside with doors and windows closed and use high-efficiency air filters in air conditioning systems.