LAKE TAHOE, Nev. -- Air quality remained hazardous across parts of the West, including the Lake Tahoe area, as massive wildfires continued to pump out thick smoke.
The worst air quality readings were found in central California and western Nevada from the massive Dixie and Caldor fires. A measuring station in Tahoe City, California showed a reading of 400 Wednesday morning which any reading over 300 is considered hazardous to breathe. It's been as high as 694 this week, according to fire.airnow.gov.
Ash rained down on Tuesday and tourists ducked into cafes, outdoor gear shops and casinos on Lake Tahoe Boulevard for a respite from the unhealthy air, according to the Associated Press.
Reno also reached readings of 200-300 Wednesday morning and has reached as high as 346 earlier this week. Schools there had been closed for the start of the week due to the poor air quality but were reopening Wednesday as the air quality was set to improve a little bit, the AP reported.
Do we spy a little clearing to the northwest behind the smoke layer this evening? Some improvement in the AQ for north and northwest side of Reno/Sparks, but still registering unhealthy-hazardous to the south through Carson/Minden/SLT/Incline. https://t.co/YZGiBS1emn pic.twitter.com/54JzNGjR9U— NWS Reno (@NWSReno) August 25, 2021
Unhealthy to very unhealthy air quality was measured in southern Oregon around the Medford and Klamath Falls areas from fires burning in near there, with smoky air stretching east across southern Idaho and into western Montana where Air Quality Alerts remain in effect.
Officials are urging residents to limit strenuous outdoor activity, stay inside with windows closed and use HEPA filters on indoor ventilation systems.
Little hope for rain
With rain remaining elusive for that region for the foreseeable future, smoky skies and unhealthy air quality are expected to remain an issue for at least the next several days.
The Dixie Fire in northern California has now burned over 735,000 acres and is only 45% contained, according to Cal Fire. The Caldor Fire has burned over 120,000 acres and is 11% contained as of Wednesday morning, Cal Fire said.
Nationally, 92 large fires were burning in a dozen mainly Western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.