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Fire smoke blanketing northern Nevada delays school starts

August 17, 2021 GMT

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — The Washoe County School District on Tuesday pushed back school start times two hours due to weather conditions as smoke from wildfires across the California border blanketed the Reno-Sparks area.

The district said winds forecasted by the National Weather Service would push enough of the smoke out of the region to hold in-person classes and pick students up at their assigned bus stops two hours behind schedule. The delay comes a year after Washoe County schools were closed six times in four weeks due to smoke. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that administrators did not anticipate closures this year due to updated ventilation systems.

Besides the Tamarack Fire, which started near Gardnerville, the state has not experienced wildfires to the extent that California or Oregon have. However, smoke from California’s blazes has shrouded northern Nevada on and off for weeks. Air monitors have measured high amounts of particulate matter in the air that federal regulators say is unhealthy to breath for extended periods of time.

In addition to smoke from the Dixie Fire, which has been burning northwest of Reno, the Caldor Fire was expanding south of Lake Tahoe on Tuesday morning, emitting smoke plumes visible from Carson City and surrounding northern Nevada.