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TAHOE CITY (CBS13) — As the smoke clears out from the Sacramento Valley, it’s sinking into the Tahoe Basin. The vista views over Tahoe are now blanketed in a hazy layer of wildfire smoke.

“It hurts, hurts your lungs,” said Gary Winthorpe, who was visiting from the Bay Area.

Those headed for an outdoor escape this weekend will instead find hazy skies and unhealthy air quality.

“There’s a bunch of people flocking up here thinking it’s going to be better but it’s really not,” said Samantha Rains.

The air quality is unhealthy, which means it could cause health problems for everyone, not just those with pre-existing conditions.

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“That seems to be through the foothills all the way up to the Tahoe Area,” said Ann Hobbs with Placer County Air Pollution Control.

While people in Tahoe struggle to breathe this, people in Vacaville soaked in their first dose of better air in days. The moderate air quality is much less noticeable.

READ MORE: Clearer Skies Bring Breath Of Fresh Air In Solano County Following Weeks Of Smoke

“Hoping that that movement of clean air is going to keep moving up the foothills and into the Tahoe basin,” Hobbs said.

Ann Hobbs with Placer County Air Pollution Control says the smoke in Tahoe comes from wildfires down south, including the Creek Fire and SCU complex.

Meteorologists expect the smoke to start to clear Thursday evening but the best chance for better air quality will be Friday. Until then, the advice is to stay inside.

“It’s hard to do a lot of physical activity out here, boating or paddleboarding biking or anything,” Rains said.

Tahoe is dealing with almost twice the amount of pollutants in the air as places like Sacramento and Vacaville. The air quality expert we talked to says it is not healthy to be breathing in the smoke they have been getting in Tahoe.

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Map: High fire danger this weekend in Bay Area, much of Northern California

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning, indicating heightened risk of wildfire, for most of Northern California this weekend.

The warning area extends from the Oregon line to the Gilroy area, and from the coast to the Sierra crest. It includes some or all of the counties of Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Sonoma and Marin.

For most of the area, the warning is in effect from 9 p.m. Saturday to 9 p.m. Monday. On the north coast, it is from 5 a.m. Sunday to 9 p.m. Monday.

In the Bay Area, the weather service says, the highest threats are in these areas:

  • Mount Diablo and the East Bay hills above 1,000 feet, including much of the East Bay Regional Park District lands.
  • The Highway 4 corridor, the I-680 corridor and I-580 east of the Altamont Pass.
  • Lower-elevation unburned areas of Marin and Sonoma counties west of Highway 101, including Mt Tamalpais and Point Reyes National Seashore.

The warning was prompted by a forecast of hot and dry weather with gusty winds.

For updates and regional details, see the National Weather Service website or app.


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