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KUNR Today: Lighter Winds Forecast Near Caldor Fire, Water Left Running Hampers Firefighting Efforts

Mountains with smoke emerging from them.
ALERTWildfire Tahoe cameras
A look at the Caldor Fire from Leek Springs, southwest of Lake Tahoe, at 8:24 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021.

More Favorable Weather Expected For Caldor Fire
By Noah Glick

Firefighters were able to battle gusty winds overnight, helping to slow the spread of the Caldor Fire further east toward Nevada. The blaze grew by 6,284 acres Wednesday, the smallest single-day expansion since Saturday. Weather conditions are expected to be better for fire crews Thursday.

“We lost the winds aloft. It’s a good day today to not have gusty winds up on the ridges. What we are going to have are terrain-driven winds,” said Incident Meteorologist Jim Dudley.

Dudley said that means some places in the blaze are actually able to generate their own wind when the sun hits the area, and that could mean swirling and variable wind throughout the day. But the forecast is still better than the last few days.

“Humidities are a little bit better today, overnight recoveries were better, and I don’t expect any really, really low humidities out there today, so the main thing: less ridgeline wind, terrain-driven winds driving this thing, and a little better humidity, but it’s still dry,” Dudley said.

The American Red Cross is transferring evacuees from Carson City and Gardnerville sites to Reno. Douglas County residents are still allowed at the Douglas County Community and Senior Center.

Find more information on evacuations, shelters and more on KUNR’s Caldor Fire and Dixie Fire live blogs.

Sprinklers, Hoses Left Running Could Hamper Tahoe Firefighting Efforts
By Paul Boger

Lake Tahoe utility providers are reporting low water levels after some residents left hoses and sprinklers running to protect their property against the encroaching Caldor Fire. There are now concerns that the low levels could hamper firefighting efforts.

The Lake Tahoe Public Utility Districts first noticed the sudden increase in water consumption as evacuations began Monday. Residents who left their water running are being asked to contact the utility in order to have the provider shut off their service. The utility said residents are better served by clearing roofs of pine needles and litter, clearing brush and other fuels away from their home and moving all outdoor furniture inside.

August Among Worst Months Of Pandemic In Washoe County
By Paul Boger

Washoe County reported 388 new COVID-19 cases on August 31 – the highest daily number of cases since early January.

The county also reported 47 COVID-19-related deaths in August – the most deaths in a single month since last winter’s surge. In comparison, health officials reported just five deaths in June and July each. Since the start of the pandemic, 739 people in Washoe County have died from COVID-19.

Carson City Schools Reinstate Mask Mandate
By Paul Boger

Carson City Schools will require all students, parents, teachers and staff to wear a mask indoors and on busses starting Thursday, regardless of vaccination status. The district announced the new mask requirements Wednesday.

The district’s board of trustees unanimously voted in July to reopen schools without a mask mandate, but they reversed the decision after the district reported more than 500 students have already been excluded from class this school year due to exposure or possible exposure to the coronavirus.

District officials say the new requirement will stay in place throughout the month of September with the possibility of ending the mandate in October if coronavirus exclusions decline.

Retired Superintendent Returns To Elko Schools
By KUNR Staff

The former head of Elko County Schools is stepping out of retirement to serve as the district’s interim superintendent.

The Elko Daily Free Press reports the school board tapped Jeff Zander to lead the district while the board continues to search for a new leader.

Zander worked for the district for more than 30 years, including ten as superintendent before retiring in 2018. He will replace Michele Robinson, who abruptly resigned from the position in June just over a year into her three-year contract.

Zander will also have to contend with the recent resignation of five of the district’s seven trustees in August. The board has faced contentious debate about mask mandates, staff vaccine requirements and COVID-19 testing.

Noah Glick is a former content director and host at KUNR Public Radio.
Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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