On Sunday, the smoke and ash from the Upper Colony Fire reached as far as the eye could see. 

Smith Valley resident Sylvia Perez says she could hardly recognize her home.

“The smoke it was just so bad and the ashes, it was just everywhere,” said Perez.

As of Monday, the black clouds have since let up, making the air much more breathable for residents of the area.

However, fire officials say just because the skies are blue now, doesn't mean the damage hasn't already been done.

“It has definitely been big enough to cause somebody some breathing difficulty,” said Chief Charlie Moore with the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

Interestingly enough, if a state operated prescribed burn were to have taken place in the same location as the Upper Colony Fire; Moore says it would have been significantly less detrimental to the air around us.

“We have a lot more control over dispersal of particulates as opposed to  an uncontrolled wildfire that burns and burns a lot more volume and produces a lot more air pollution,” said Moore.

Controlled burns are also typically done under cooler weather conditions and only burn the vegetation that officials allow the flames to reach.

“We're limiting prescribed burns to just a few piles or a small area,” said Moore.

Moore says whether the smoke in the air is thick or thin, groups who are sensitive to poor air quality should always prepare for the worst. This includes staying inside and using a respiratory mask or air purifier to help with breathing.