Unhealthy, hazardous air quality to persist at Lake Tahoe; Thunderstorms possible Monday | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Unhealthy, hazardous air quality to persist at Lake Tahoe; Thunderstorms possible Monday

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

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Lake Tahoe air quality continues to be impacted by the Mosquito Fire that continues to burn west of the basin.

Air quality all around the lake Monday morning is unhealthy to hazardous except for a small pocket on the West Shore and in Truckee where some sensors are showing good to moderate.

The National Weather Service issued a special statement saying South Lake Tahoe has some of the worst air quality in the region and all schools are closed at Lake Tahoe.

“Smoke from the Mosquito wildfire continues to produce unhealthy to hazardous air quality to many areas this morning,” the statement said. “The worst conditions, based on observations, are concentrated around South Lake Tahoe and into the Carson Valley. Visibility is below two miles.”

All Lake Tahoe schools are closed. Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District is open after determining air quality is at safe levels.

The service said there will be some improvement Monday morning into the early afternoon, however, another wave of smoke is forecast to push into the region this afternoon and evening similar to Sunday afternoon which will likely lead to additional reductions in visibility and degraded air quality.

The air quality Monday morning at Lake Tahoe. Green is good, yellow is moderate, red is unhealthy, purple is very unhealthy and maroon is hazardous.

The service is also calling for a 50% chance of thunderstorms after noon lowering to 30% in the evening. A high of 77 is expected with 5-10 mph winds

There is a 20% chance of thunderstorms on Tuesday.

The Mosquito Fire continues to progress on its north and eastern flanks.

“Despite cooler temperatures, the historically dry fuel moisture in the vegetation continues driving the fire’s growth,” Cal Fire said. 

The fire, located 4 miles east of Foresthill and north of Oxbow Reservoir, has burned 46,587 acres as of Monday morning and is 10% contained. Total personnel now working has risen to 2,397. Approximately 5,848 structures are threatened and more than 11,000 have been evacuated.

Fire activity was moderate on Sunday but the fire made a run to the northeast in the drainage between Foresthill Road and Deadwood Road and firefighters have been building in-direct control lines and when necessary utilizing strategic firing operations to stay ahead of the fire on this corner.

Cal Fire said crews continue to look for chances to build in-direct control lines between the eastern front of the fire and Last Chance.

“The steep and rugged terrain make it difficult for ground crews to access the fire directly, therefore building control lines ahead of the approaching fire and building a buffer with defensive firing operations will allow firefighters the opportunity to slow and potentially stop the fire’s forward progress,” said the morning incident report.

According to the update, firefighters continue to work towards hooking the southwest corner near Buckeye Point. Crews have successfully built a control line consisting of dozer and hand lines to the Middle Fork of the American River. This control line, in combination with firing operations, will help firefighters secure this piece of the perimeter. Locking in this southwest corner of the fire is Monday’s top priority. Crews are also in the area of Todd Valley working to build contingency lines to further protect the community of Foresthill.

Monday’s weather will be similar to Sunday’s, “with a smoke inversion laying over the fire area in the morning and southwest winds clearing the smoke by early afternoon. With clearer air in the afternoon, fire activity is predicted to increase as it has in the past several days.”

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