This is getting old. More smoke has invaded the Tahoe basin, giving residents and visitors alike a taste of Beijing air quality. This time it’s due to a raging outta control fire near (and soon to be in?) Yosemite. Since much of the area that’s currently an inferno hasn’t burned in 100 years, it’s not likely that this one will be contained anytime soon.
So, what’s a person to do in a recreation mecca when recreation may be hazardous to one’s health? I’ll call it ‘having a tourist’ day. Instead of doing a long, arduous bike ride or hike, I took the dog and a visiting friend to Fallen Leaf lake for a gentle stroll and stick throwing session for the dog, and then onto the Valhalla & Pope Beach estates. This was followed by a mellow bike ride to the beach for lunch. Sad to say, that wiped me out and I’m currently dreaming of blue skies and genuine sunshine as I avoid the worst of the afternoon smoke.
Well color me needlessly panicked. The ‘Washoe Fire’ was contained this morning, and despite the high wind alert (more reminiscent of winter, when such winds bring snow with them), it’s been a relatively calm day.
A fire began on the North Shore near Tahoe City this afternoon in a residential area right near Highway 89. Last reports are showing only 25 acres burned – and 5 homes – but that doesn’t make me feel any better. Admittedly it is 20 miles from South Lake Tahoe, but with high winds today and tomorrow, who knows what will happen.
I really wanted to get outside and play without fear this weekend. We had planned to head high in the Desolation Wilderness to escape the infernal heat, and figured that even with the extreme fire risk (drier than dry with high winds) we needed the distraction.
What we didn’t plan on was the smoke from the numerous other fires burning in the region (Plumas County, Northeast Reno-Sparks, and the Eastern Sierra near Independence) to be so visible. The Lake Tahoe basin looked more like L.A. on a bad smog day, and as we hiked we were able to see the smoke line north of us in the Lassen – Lake Almanor area. High winds gusting intermittently around us only added to our concern about how intelligent this decision was. However we did make it to the top of Dick’s Pass, saw that the winds were moving the smoke out of the basin, and relaxed enough to enjoy a quick dip in the deliciously crisp waters of Dick’s Lake.
All told, a great hike (3200 ft up and down and 14 miles total), and by starting and finishing early we could enjoy the afternoon in the cool confines of our poorly insulated house.
Small fire reported at Heavenly just now. It’s contained now, but $&%^! it’s going to be a long summer.
There’s definitely more smoke this morning, but Highways 89 and 50 are opening again, and evacuees will be allowed back this morning. No more news on containment figures, but I’m hoping I hear the happy sound of flying aircraft soon.
I’ve been listening to a local FM station since the fire began, a real change from my traditional NPR preferences. While the music has ranged from ok to bad, the local DJ’s updates on the fire and general commentary have been quite comforting. Many, many locals have called in offering shelter, food, and general help, which has shown this old cynic that there is a lot of good in this world. And while there are strong feelings as to how and why this happened (the head of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency got booed of the stage of last night’s community meeting, though I’m not sure exactly why), right now most people realize that the focus needs to be on fighting the fire and caring for those who have been displaced.
Estimates right now are that the economy will take a $1 billion hit, seeing as we’re tourism based. However, considering that the fire’s impacts have been primarily residential and forest land, it’s all the more reason for visitors to come visit and show their support for this glorious place and the people who call it home.
Apparently the fire is now 40% contained. That’s a huge jump from the 10% containment confirmed earlier today.
There’s a town hall meeting tonight. Not sure if I’ll make it, as I’m about ready to pass out, but I’ll keep this posted as I hear more.
Do I stay and fight for the house or do I leave before the winds pick up again? Without N here to help, I’m leaning towards the fleeing option, though I do want to wait until tomorrow, when said winds are supposed to increase.
Today’s firefighting efforts have not resulted in any announced confirmed percentage of containment. They were unable to fly planes due to the smokiness, which means that the fire was fought entirely on the ground. There’s going to be a press conference at 6pm, so ideally there will be more information. If there is no significant fire containment by tomorrow morning, I have no idea what that will mean for the City of South Lake Tahoe. Today was supposed to be the big firefighting day, and while I have no doubt that the hundreds of firefighters out there are doing all they can, I’m worried that they may not make the deadline that Mother Nature has set upon us.
I could use a good run, but alas the air quality outside is hardly conducive to that..or being outside at all.
The fast paced Angora fire that started and spread rapidly yesterday is still technically out of control, being only about 10% contained. Luckily the winds have died down and the fire didn’t move last night, but the heavy smoke is now creating some visibility issues for planes and helicopters.
Thus far 220 structures have burned, and currently the Red Cross is setting up a center at the community college to let evacuees know the status of their homes. From what I heard Norma Santiago, County Supervisor, say in a statement earlier this morning, the fire burned hot and fast, obliterating homes to the point that if it wasn’t left standing or partially standing, it’s difficult to confirm the actual address.
For those interested, there’s a good map that shows the fire area and the evacuation areas. We’re a couple of miles east of there, so while the house isn’t in immediate danger, I’m staying close to the radio and computer today to see what progresses this afternoon.
A big and fast burning fire has started in Meyers about 2 hours ago. The sky is filled with smoke, Highway 50 is closed, and mandatory evacuation is in effect for areas near the high school.
Call me paranoid, but I’ve packed up the truck just in case. Whether it’s the girl scout in me or what, I’ve already seen how quickly this can grow, as we saw the fire beginning when on the last leg of the 31 mile mountain bike ride I did today. It’s much bigger than it was at 4pm….