RENO (CBS SF) — A heavy layer of smoke was draped over picturesque Lake Tahoe Friday, a reminder of the desperate battle being waged far to the south against the advancing Ferguson Fire which has grown to 22,892 acres.
A thick haze also enveloped Reno where air officials told residents with lung issues to remain indoors. Meanwhile, a health advisory triggered by the smoke was issued for Northstar along Lake Tahoe’s north shore.
The wildfire — which broke out July 13 in steep and rugged terrain within Sierra National Forest in the southern Sierra near Yosemite National Park — continued its steady advance along Highway 140 toward the communities of Yosemite West and Jerseyville.
There was just 7 percent containment and it still was a threat to more than 100 homes. While the blaze has yet to burn any structure, it has taken a major toll on the more than 2,700 firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service, Cal Fire and fire agency across California engaged in battling the blaze.
Cal Fire heavy equipment operator Braden Varney, 36, was killed fighting the fire and two others have been injured.
Cal fire said the fire was active overnight, particularly along Highway 140 near El Portal, along Pinoche Ridge, and on its southeastern corner. Crews working along the highway continued to bring fire slowly to the road, successfully strengthening lines on the South side of the Merced River.
Firefighters were also intensifying their efforts around the community of Jerseydale where mandatory evacuations have been ordered.
The weather also remained a primary concern Friday as thunderstorms remained in the forecast for the next few days with the gusty winds they produce.
While the skies were smoky, Yosemite National Park remained open.