Smoke-filled basin awaits those traveling to Lake Tahoe; nearby wildfires source of smoke | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Smoke-filled basin awaits those traveling to Lake Tahoe; nearby wildfires source of smoke

Staff and wire reports

Smoke has filled the Tahoe Basin as wildfires continue to burn in the region.

A common sight at times this summer, Tahoe residents started their day Friday with thick haze covering the lake. Visibility was low on the South Shore. According to the El Dorado County Air Quality Management District, the air quality forecast for the region is “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

The smoke appears to be coming from several fires burning in the region, including the Slinkard Fire near Lake Topaz. As of Thursday night, the fire had grown to 6,500 acres and crossed the Nevada state line along a broad front.

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Flames could be seen from the parking lot of the Topaz Lodge Casino.

More than 400 firefighters have had trouble building a line around the fire, which started in Slinkard Valley just west of the California town of Topaz.

So far no structures have been lost, as firefighters focus on trying to keep the flames away from homes and businesses, but as of this morning the fire remains uncontained, according to the National Interagency Dispatch.

Highway 395 remains closed from Holbrook Junction to Bridgeport, California. Highway 89 over Monitor Pass also is closed, according to the Nevada and California departments of transportation web sites.

Liberty Utilities said it was able to restore power to 30 homes near Topaz before the fire forced crews back. According to its Web site, there are 661 Mono County customers without electricity. Plans to bring down a generator have been delayed.

Fire near Burning Man

Another fire burning in Nevada temporarily shut down the main travel route to the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert about 100 miles north of Reno.

About 100 firefighters remained on the lines Thursday night after air tankers dumped retardant on flaming sagebrush and invasive cheat grass in the high desert about 40 miles south of the counterculture celebration where the mercury is expected to top 100 degrees Friday.

Oroville

In Northern California, fire officials say a wildfire has destroyed 20 homes town of Oroville.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the blaze about 70 miles north of Sacramento had consumed nearly 6 square miles. It’s threatening 500 homes.

Fire crews increased containment to 30 percent overnight ahead of a statewide heat wave.

But officials say the fire’s location in steep and rugged terrain plus hot and dry temperatures are complicating firefighters’ efforts.

More firefighters are joining the more than 1,600 already battling the fire.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. Kurt Hildebrand contributed to this report.

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