Lower smoke levels expected from Ralston fire | SierraSun.com

Lower smoke levels expected from Ralston fire

The Ralston Fire in Placer County continues to burn, but smoke in the Truckee-Tahoe area should continue to be lower than Wednesday’s levels.

As of Thursday afternoon, the fire had covered 675 acres approximately eight to 10 miles east of Foresthill. Generally west-blowing winds should keep smoke down lower in the foothills, however.

Mark Deutschendorf, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, said that Wednesday’s winds brought smoke up into the Tahoe-Truckee area, but Thursday’s and today’s winds should keep smoke over the middle of Placer County.

“The smoke plume on the satellite shows it west of the Sierra Crest,” Deutschendorf said.

He said smoke warnings aren’t generally issued unless visibility gets below one or two miles, which has not happened in the area.

The multi-agency battle against the fire continues, and officials expect fighting the fire to be long and difficult.

“At this point, estimated containment is on Sept. 18, but that’s a worst-case, we hope for better,” said Mary Furney, fire information officer with the U.S. Forest Service.

Two hundred and eleven personnel are fighting the fire using “air support, dozers, water tenders, engines, and hand crews,” Furney said, but the rough terrain in the American River Middle Fork Canyon makes accessing and fighting the fire difficult.

The fire started approximately two miles east of Rolston, and its cause is still under investigation, Furney said.

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