Smoke, haze to continue impacting Tahoe; Warms temps, thunderstorms also forecast

A view of Lake Tahoe on Monday morning from Diamond Peak Ski Resort in Incline Village.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Air quality has improved Monday morning at Lake Tahoe but more smoke and haze are the forecast this week along with chances for thunderstorms.

The National Weather Service in Reno issued a special statement calling for smoke from the Oak Fire in Mariposa County, which is 16,791 acres and 10% contained as of Monday morning, to continue sending smoke into the Sierra, including the basin, and western Nevada.

“Smoke will continue to affect western Nevada and the Sierra this week. Areas across the Tahoe Basin, Carson Valley, and eastern Sierra may see periods of degraded air quality each night/morning with minor improvements by the afternoon. How long will the smoke affect the region? That is dependent on the intensity and activity of the fire or any possible additional fires through the week.”

The air quality at Lake Tahoe Monday morning. Yellow is moderate, orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups and red is unhealthy for all.

The air quality Monday morning in South Lake Tahoe is moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups, according to with pockets of unhealthy air in Incline Village, Crystal Bay and Kings Beach and better on the West Shore. Truckee escaped much of the smoke Sunday morning but a smoke haze is lingering over town Monday Morning.

Placer County Health and Air Pollution Control District on Sunday evening issued a joint news release about poor air quality its Tahoe communities may be facing. 

“Smoke contains very tiny particles that can be inhaled deep into the lungs,” the release said. “While all people may experience varying degrees of symptoms, more sensitive individuals — such as the young, aged and those with respiratory conditions — are at greatest risk of experiencing serious symptoms. Symptoms may include, but are not limited to, coughing, watery and itchy eyes, headache, scratchy throat, and difficulty in breathing.”

A view of Lake Tahoe Monday morning from Homewood Mountain Resort.

It is advised for those who see and smell smoke to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities, especially in areas where smoke has limited visibility.

Some recommended ways to reduce smoke exposure include:

Here are recommended ways to reduce your smoke exposure:

— Stay indoors with the windows and doors closed; if possible, run the air conditioner on the “recirculation” setting

— Limit outdoor physical activity

— Leave the smoke-impacted areas if possible until conditions improve

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

A view of Lake Tahoe on Monday morning from Heavenly Mountain Resort.

— Non‐HEPA paper face mask filters and bandana-type face coverings may be helpful in reducing the spread of germs and viruses, but they are not capable of filtering out extra fine smoke particulates which are much smaller in size. Therefore, they will not be helpful in protecting individuals from smoke-related impacts. Information on the use of masks and face coverings during smoke impacts can be found here.

While smoke is impacting the region, hot temperatures are on tap and fire officials will be on the lookout as a chance of thunderstorms enter the region on Tuesday.

The high temps for the week are expected to be in the mid to high 80s, with Monday’s expected high of 89 in South Lake Tahoe marking the hottest day in the forecast.

Calm winds through most of the week will be in the 5 mph range.

“Widespread Moderate with isolated high heat impacts are likely, so take necessary precautions to limit effects for heat sensitive folks and pets,” the statement said. “Stay hydrated, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, and be vigilant of vulnerable neighbors, family or friends.”

A 20% chance of thunderstorms and showers are forecast for Tuesday after 11 a.m.

“Storms will primarily be confined to southern Mono and Mineral counties this afternoon, but storm potential will spread northward through the week,” said the statement. “Lightning-caused fires will be a concern through the week with increasing storm coverage. Storms will gradually become wetter in nature later this week with the potential for heavy rains and flooding concerns for steep terrain or burn areas.”

The air quality in California Monday morning. Yellow is moderate, orange is unhealthy for sensitive groups and red is unhealthy for all.

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