Kevin MacMillan

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August 23, 2013
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American fire 94% contained; smoke still thick from Rim fire

TRUCKEE, Calif. — State and federal emergency crews are closing in on containing the American fire burning in the Tahoe National Forest.

The fire is burning in a heavily forested area of very steep terrain on Deadwood Ridge, about 10 miles northeast of Foresthill, Calif., roughly a half hour west of Lake Tahoe.

The U.S. Forest Service estimated its size at about 26,004 acres as of Wednesday morning. It’s now 94 percent contained, and officials estimate it will be 100 percent contained this Thursday.

Roughly 1,082 personnel from Calfire and USFS and other agencies are fighting the fire, which is believed to be human-caused.

The fire ignited at about 4:30 p.m. Aug. 10 and has destroyed five structures as of Tuesday, according to USFS.

Heavy smoke from the fire and the 187,466-acre Rim fire near Yosemite National Park continues to create health hazards throughout Truckee and Tahoe, prompting agencies to issue air quality warnings.

Depending in shifts in wind patterns, the region will be under a dense smoke advisory heading into Labor Day, according to the National Weather Service, reducing visibility to a quarter mile at times.

Air quality in the surrounding Carson and Washoe valleys and at Lake Tahoe will be at unhealthy levels for most of the rest of the week, according to the Placer County Air Pollution Control and Washoe County Health districts.

“People with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly and children should avoid prolonged exertion; everyone else should limit prolonged exertion,” officials said.

The Rim fire was 23 percent contained as of Wednesday morning, according to the forest service. Nearly 3,800 firefighters are fighting the fire, the price tag of which hit $27.2 million Monday.

Here are recommended ways to reduce smoke exposure, according to Placer County:

• Limit outdoor exertion and physical activity.

• If you have air conditioning, run the air conditioner on the “recirculation” setting.

• Leave smoke-impacted areas until conditions improve, if possible.

• Reduce unnecessary driving. If traveling through smoke-impacted areas, be sure that your vehicle’s ventilation system is on re-circulate.

• Avoid the use of non-HEPA paper face mask filters, which are not capable of filtering out extra fine particulates.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Aug 28, 2013 10:28AM Published Aug 26, 2013 12:47PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.