Smoke expected to remain in Nevada County through Friday | TheUnion.com

Smoke expected to remain in Nevada County through Friday

A hazy sky met Nevada County residents as they drove to work Wednesday morning.

That haze remained through the day, and the conditions that come with it are expected to stay through Friday, according to the Northern Sierra Air Quality Management District.

Several large fires burning in Northern California are producing the smoke, including the Lobo and McCourtney fires in Nevada County. Winds have pushed it to the northeast, though a shift is expected to soon send that smoke south, said Eric Kurph, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Whether that shift benefits Nevada County remains to be seen.

"It's a challenging thing to project smoke," Kurph warned about the prediction.

Officials caution people to stay indoors, regardless of their health. Jill Blake, Nevada County's public health director, said people should avoid using their air-conditioning indoors or in the car, unless they can recirculate the air.

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"There are genuine concerns out there," Blake said.

Smoke contains what the air quality district calls fine particulate matter. Concentrations of that matter can irritate eyes and throats and lead to headaches, nausea, congestion, coughing and chest pain. People with asthma, heart or lung conditions and pregnant women can be especially sensitive.

The numbers Wednesday night on each of the western Nevada County fires were the same as earlier in the day. The Lobo Fire was at 857 acres with 30 percent containment while the McCourtney Fire was at 76 acres with 65 percent containment.

Fire fallout

Nevada County initially opened two shelters for those forced to evacuate because of the fires, leading about 80 people to use them. On Wednesday they consolidated the shelters into one at Twin Cities Church, 11726 Rough and Ready Highway, in Grass Valley.

"It makes more sense to consolidate logistically," Taylor Wolfe, an administrative analyst with the county, said in an email. "We had few people at First Baptist Church, with room to spare in both shelters."

Wolfe said staff are tracking time worked and shelter expenses, though it's unknown how much the fires will cost the county.

The Nevada County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed a resolution proclaiming a local emergency because of the fires. That declaration will enable the county to qualify for state and federal funding to offset the costs incurred from the blazes, said Stephen Monaghan, the county's chief information officer.

"We're going to have a lot of cleanup," Monaghan said.

Several power outages struck Nevada County in the wake of the fires. PG&E reported that some 8,500 customers had no power Monday afternoon. That number had dropped to 463 by Wednesday morning.

Affected areas include Penn Valley, Rough and Ready, Grass Valley and Nevada City.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

Information

According to a release from Nevada County, there will be a community meeting for Nevada County residents affected by the McCourtney and Lobo Fires. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the supervisor’s chamber at the Rood Center, 950 Maidu Avenue, Nevada City.

For live fire coverage go to The Union Now

Also additional ongoing coverage can be found here.

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