Air quality improves at Lake Tahoe; Firefighters gain ground on wildfires |

Air quality improves at Lake Tahoe; Firefighters gain ground on wildfires

Firefighters work on the Slink Fire.

Air quality has improved at Lake Tahoe and weather conditions are allowing firefighters to gain on wildfires burning throughout California.

The National Weather Service is calling for widespread haze through Thursday but the smoke advisories that were a daily occurrence last week are not in the forecast yet this week.

Cal Fire in a Sunday update said about 19,000 firefighters have helped grow containment on 27 major wildfires.

The blaze burning closest to the basin, the Fork Fire burning 15 miles northeast of Pollock Pines, may be wrapped up this week according to officials. It is 63% contained and has consumed about 1,700 acres.

Fire personnel have completed nearly all of the planned containment lines around the fire’s edge, with the exception of the western portion in the Rubicon River canyon. Aircraft dropped nearly 30,000 gallons of water on the fire Saturday afternoon and evening, officials stated, allowing for higher humidities overnight to help extinguish hot spots.

The deadly North Complex, where South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue personnel headed late last week, has grown to nearly 300,000 acres but is now mostly contained at 64% as of Monday morning. Fifteen people have lost their lives in the blazes that include the Sheep, Bear and Claremont fires, and 1,561 structures have been destroyed.

The fire complex is in the Plumas National Forest about two to 3 hours northwest of Tahoe.

The Creek Fire west of Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra National Forest in Fresno County, well south of Tahoe, is almost up to 300,000 acres but firefighters have made significant gains and the fire is 27% contained.

The Slink Fire burning southwest of Tahoe near Topaz Lake and Coleville has consumed 26,752 acres and is 84% contained. Officials are hoping for full containment at the end of the week.

Overall, 7,900 wildfires have burned over 3,500,000 acres in California since Aug. 15, Cal Fire officials said. There have been 26 deaths and over 6,100 structures destroyed.

The haze making its way into the basin is creating “moderate” air quality all around the lake with similar readings on all sides.

NWS is calling for high temperatures this week to reach into the high 60s as the season shifts into fall on Tuesday.

Monday the high could reach 68 with the overnight low about 42. The wind Monday morning is about 5 to 10 mph with 25 mph gusts in the forecast. NWS is calling for a similar forecast throughout the week.

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