American Fire Near Tahoe Grows in Size; Air Quality Moderate - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

American Fire Near Tahoe Grows in Size; Air Quality Moderate

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A forest fire burning west of Lake Tahoe is now 63% contained. Washoe County Health District says the air quality is in the moderate range.

Investigators say the 15,738-acre American Fire is human-caused and started August 10th in the Deadwood Range, northeast of Forest Hill in the Tahoe National Forest. Crews hope it have it fully contained by a week from Sunday.

Fire crews report the blaze is burning in heavy fuels on very steep slopes. More than 1,800 personnel are working to contain the blaze. Crews continue to mop up containment lines on the west side of the fire. On the north and north-east edge, fire crews continue to hold and improve containment lines and prepare for firing operations if needed. Efforts to contain the fire along the more difficult steep and hazardous terrain on the east and south-east perimeters continues with crews using direct fire attack methods where possible, roll out of burning material remains a concern. Aircraft are supporting crews on the ground when smoke conditions permit flying.

The fire is established in Antoine, Manilla, Scewrauger and Cavanah Canyons, consumption of heavy fuels will continue to contribute to smoke in surrounding areas. Tuesday afternoon, a thunderstorm began to develop south-east of the area resulting in erratic winds over the fire area. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect until 11:00 pm Wednesday.

The Tahoe National Forest has issued a closure order for the fire area that is posted on the Forest website at

A partial road closure of Mosquito Ridge Rd (Hwy 96) from the junction of the Ralston Ridge Rd (Forest Rd 23), east to the junction of Forest Rd 96-052, west of French Meadows Reservoir for public and firefighter safety. This will occur at 2:00 P.M. today.

Access to the Oxbow Middle Fork American River Rafting Launch remains accessible from Mosquito Ridge Rd., and remains open. French Meadows Reservoir Recreation Area remains open, an alternate is available.

From Foresthill take Mosquito Ridge Rd (FSR 96) to the Ralston Ridge Rd (FSR 23) a distance of 12 miles. Travel FSR 23 to the intersection of the FSR 23-2 (to Oxbow Powerhouse and the Indian Bar Rafter put-in) and FSR 23, go left toward the Ralston day use permit area.

Take FSR 23 past the Ralston day use area and powerhouse, and continue for
approximately 18 miles to the intersection of FSR 22. Take FSR 22 approximately 6 miles to French Meadows Reservoir.

This route is chipped sealed, there is another unmarked route (to the north) that is graveled or native surface roads. None of these routes are well marked at this time. There is also road construction on parts of the FSR 23.

Lastly, FSR 23 from Ralston Powerhouse upward is extremely steep, narrow and winding and is not suited to vehicles towing trailers or to Motorhomes.

The alternate route for vehicles towing trailers, and motorhomes, will be through the Georgetown Ranger District on the Eldorado National Forest. (530) 330-4312

The U.S. Forest Service says four structures have been destroyed, but have not yet elaborated on what type of structure.

The Washoe County Health District says the air quality is again in the moderate range. Monday, it was in the unhealthy range.

It released this message Wednesday afternoon:

Unusually sensitive people should consider reducing prolonged or heavy exertion. Smoke from the American Fire in California continues to impact the Truckee Meadows. Although the particulate levels have decreased since yesterday, rapid changes in weather or fire activity could result in elevated levels of fine particulates. If you feel the smoke is affecting you, remain indoors with the windows closed and air conditioning on and reduce prolonged or heavy exertion while outdoors.

Visit for additional air quality information or call the Air Quality Hotline at 785-4110.
Starting Monday, August 26th, the Washoe County Health District Air Quality Management Division Service Counter will start closing at 4:30pm. It says an increase in AQMD customer activity requires that service counter personnel to utilize the last half-hour of the day to complete customer service activities and reconcile finances and deposits.
New Service Counter hours will be Monday - Friday, from 8am - 4:30pm at 1001 East Ninth Street, Building B., Room B-171 in Reno.

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