Smoky skies |

Smoky skies

Ryan Salm/Sierra SunThe skies were smoky in Tahoe City Monday morning overlooking Lake Tahoe.

A health advisory has been issued for Placer County through Wednesday due to the Ralston Fire burning in the Tahoe National Forest in Foresthill, which is creating smoky conditions in Truckee and the Tahoe Basin.

“In a nutshell, if you can see or smell smoke, you should limit outdoor physical activities and strongly consider canceling outdoor sporting events and other group physical activities,” said Placer County Health Officer Dr. Richard Burton.

Air Pollution Control Officer Tom Christofk said the health advisory affects the entire county, although the western portion of Placer County is most affected. Amador County, which is south of El Dorado County, also issued a health advisory, as did Feather River in Yuba County.

A health advisory for Nevada County was lifted, but officials said that “if the air feels bad, stay inside.”

The Ralston Fire started Sept. 5 and is burning in very steep and inaccessible terrain, which makes firefighting difficult at the edge of the fire, said Jerry Westfall, a public information officer on Placer County’s fire hotline.

Fifteen percent of the fire had been contained and 5,500 acres had burned as of Monday afternoon. Westfall said more acres will continue to burn as firefighters try to conduct a burnout operation.

More than 1,300 firefighters were holding fire lines, making water drops or otherwise battling the blaze over the weekend, said Tahoe National Forest spokesperson Sharon Corsini.

A northwesterly wind at 25 to 30 mph is forecasted for Thursday, with a significant drop in temperature, Westfall said.

“It should help dissipate the smoke some,” Westfall said of the wind. “It is a deep fire. We can’t get to it. It has to come to us. It is still smoky out there.”

Westfall said although the fire is in the foothills, that residents in the Tahoe Basin and Truckee should take precautions and do indoor activities.

Burton and Christofk also advised residents to take the situation into account as they plan activities through Wednesday.

Smoky conditions vary considerably in Placer County because of terrain and weather, therefore a specific location may be smoky at one point and clear at another.

For updates on the fire, call the fire information center at 367-6550 or 367-6551. Information is also available online at

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