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KUNR Today: Crews Make Progress On Caldor Fire, Nursing Shortage Straining Nevada Hospitals

An image of a wildland firefighter looking ahead to a large wall of flames in the distance

Here are the local news headlines for the morning of Friday, Sept. 3, 2021.

Favorable Weather Boost Containment On Caldor Fire
By KUNR Staff

Better weather is helping in the battle against the Caldor Fire, which is still threatening communities around Lake Tahoe. The blaze has forced thousands of evacuations, but firefighters are making progress. As of Friday morning, the fire is up to 29% containment.

Mild winds and low humidity Thursday allowed firefighters to strengthen areas where large pockets of unburned fuel threatened existing control lines.

Officials say the inspection of damaged homes is in progress, with approximately 65% of structures inspected to date. According to CAL FIRE, more than 800 homes and other structures have been destroyed.

Further north, the Dixie Fire is 55% contained as of Friday morning, after burning more than 1,300 square miles of land.

Fire crews worked Thursday to remove dead standing trees in the Lassen Volcanic National Park area, and they're focusing on removing additional dead trees Friday, which are threatening firefighter safety.

Residents are encouraged to stay vigilant and to monitor evacuation information and road closures.

Incline Village schools are closed through at least Tuesday due to unpredictable fire behavior. Douglas County has closed all lake schools in the district through at least Friday.

More information is available on KUNR's live Caldor Fire and Dixie Fire blogs.

Caldor Fire Forces Closure Of Tahoe Post Offices
By Danna O'Connor

The U.S. Postal Service has implemented an emergency suspension of some post offices because of the Caldor Fire. The Zephyr Cove, Stateline and Glenbrook locations are all closed temporarily.

Residents are asked to use the Ormsby Post Office at 2613 Empire Ranch Road in Carson City to get their mail. The Ormsby Post Office is open Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. It is closed on the weekends.

Customers from Zephyr Cove, Stateline and Glenbrook must present a valid picture ID to pick up mail.

Large Conventions Can Now Go Maskless If All In Attendance Are Vaccinated
By Paul Boger

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak has signed an emergency directive giving large conventions the ability to drop mask requirements if all attendees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Emergency Directive 50 expands the state's mask exception for large events to all counties if all attendees have gotten the coronavirus vaccination.

Essentially, masks are no longer required for the fully vaccinated if the convention has at least 4,000 attendees, requires pre-registration, and lasts for a set period of time.

Organizers must also prevent unauthorized persons from entering and require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. If a convention doesn’t follow these rules, attendees will have to continue to wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Nevada’s Nursing Shortage Increases As Pandemic Continues
By Paul Boger

A severe shortage of nurses has left some northern Nevada hospitals with few staffed beds for patients.

Dr. Chris Lake with the Nevada Hospital Association said the nursing shortage is a problem compounded by the number of unvaccinated people who end up in the hospital.

“We entered the pandemic with a shortage of nurses, and this has been increasing as nurses leave the profession with each subsequent wave of illness,” Lake said.

According to the latest state data, there are currently more than 1,100 confirmed or suspected COVID-19 hospitalizations in Nevada, and about a quarter of them are in the Intensive Care Unit.

Wildlife Officials Warn Of Increased Bear Encounters Due To Caldor Fire
By KUNR Staff

Wildlife officials in Nevada are asking residents in the Carson-Douglas area to be on alert for bears.

Accordingto the Nevada Appeal, officials have reported a rash of bear sightings along the eastern edge of the Sierra as the Caldor Fire continues to wreak havoc south of Lake Tahoe and in western Nevada. Bears have also started to forage ahead of their winter hibernation, a period that usually leads to increased bear encounters.

Residents are being asked to drive carefully, especially at night, and to secure garbage cans and other rubbish. Officials say people can help displaced wildlife by providing water well away from their houses so that animals don’t start to associate the water with the home itself.

Non-Partisan, 3rd Party Voters Now Majority In Nevada
By Paul Boger

Voters not affiliated with a major political party are now the largest voting bloc in Nevada.

Democrats make up roughly 34% of voters, while Republicans make up a little more than 30%. But people who identify as non-partisan - or who vote for minor political parties - have a slight majority. They represent nearly 35% of all registered voters in the state.

Danna has been with KUNR Public Radio since 1995. She started as a weekend announcer, then full time jazz host and in 2008 became the local host for NPR’s Morning Edition.
Paul Boger is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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