Incoming storm may push out smoke; lake wind advisory for Saturday

Staff Report
On Tuesday afternoon, the fire spotted across American River and spread quickly northward toward Foresthill.
Provided/Cal Fire

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — While the incoming storm won’t be a fire season ending event, firefighters are planning to use the weather system to make appreciable gains on the Mosquito Fire.

The wildfire that has been impacting air quality in the Truckee-Tahoe region with dense, unhealthy-to-hazardous smoke, grew a couple thousand acres overnight and has burned 71,292 acres near Oxbow Reservoir, east of Foresthill and in both El Dorado and Placer counties. The number of destroyed structures has grown to 78 with another 13 damaged and more than 9,000 more threatened. The fire has forced 11,277 to evacuate their homes. There are 3,453 firefighters battling the blaze. The cause is under investigation.

“While the rain will help moderate and slow the fire’s growth, it is not forecasted to be a season-ending event,” said Saturday morning’s incident report. “With the critically dry fuels and warmer weather back in the forecast for later next week, firefighters will use this weather system as an opportunity to make significant progress in containing the fire.”

The approaching storm will bring with it strong winds, about an inch of rain over a few days and a bit of slushy snow on the region’s highest peaks including Sonora, Tioga, Mt. Rose and Ebbetts passes.

The wind starts picking up mid-morning Saturday with the National Weather Service in Reno issuing a lake wind advisory due to southwest wind expected in the 15-20 mph range with gusts up to 35 mph. Waves could reach up to 3 feet.

The advisory starts at 11 a.m. and lasts through 8 p.m.

Officials advise those in kayaks, small boats and paddle boards to stay off the water until conditions improve.

Twenty-five mph wind gusts will continue through Sunday and a 50% chance of showers enters the forecast in the evening. The chance of precipitation grows to 60% on Monday and Tuesday.

The service says the southerly wind flow will push the smoke northward later Saturday and added that conditions “may deteriorate in the Sierra Valley and from Truckee eastward to Highway 395 between Stead and Doyle,” the service said. “Elsewhere, conditions should be better today, with significant air quality improvements Sunday into Monday for all areas.”

The air quality is good-to-moderate Saturday morning at Lake Tahoe and unhealthy-to-hazardous in Truckee.

The storm will also bring a cooling trend with high temps into the upper 50s to low 60s through Wednesday.

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.