Smoky skies caused by 3,050-acre American fire |

Smoky skies caused by 3,050-acre American fire

Staff report

The American Fire emits a plume of smoke on Monday afternoon visible from Interstate 80 about a half hour or so west of Truckee.

Smoke that filtered into the region Sunday afternoon is expected to linger this week as a major wildfire continues to burn in the Tahoe National Forest.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the American fire is burning in a heavily forested area of very steep terrain on Deadwood Ridge, about 17 miles northeast of Foresthill, Calif.

Officials estimated its size at 3,050 acres as of Wednesday afternoon, up from an estimated 1,750 acres Tuesday afternoon.

The fire, which started Saturday, has crossed the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River. On Tuesday evening, it burned toward Deadwood Ridge, and defensive firing operations stopped the fire at Deadwood Road, according to the forest service.

About 550 USFS and Calfire personnel were assigned to the fire Wednesday, including 20 hand crews, 11 engines, 11 water tenders, six helicopters, two dozers and air tankers as available. Ground resources are staffing the fire at night, and smoke jumpers also have been called in.

The fire is not threatening any homes or structures. Its cause is under investigation.

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At Lake Tahoe and Truckee, smoke is expected to be thicker in the evenings, and should remain in the region for the next few days. Smoke has been heaviest in the Washoe Valley.

"In the evenings smoke tends to move downhill, becoming more concentrated in lower elevation areas, including the foothills and the Lake Tahoe region," officials with the Placer County Air Pollution Control District said in a statement. "In the afternoon and early evening hours, conditions may improve as smoke rises."

The fire was at 5 percent containment Wednesday afternoon.

Foresthill is located roughly an hour west of Lake Tahoe.