Gardnerville area fire brings smoke into Tahoe basin

A fire burning in the Pine Nuts is bringing smoke into the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The Spring Fire started the afternoon of July 22 after lightning struck western Nevada.

More than 1,000 acres have burned as of Sunday night.

“The fire made significant runs through pinon juniper today due to gusty winds near thunderstorms over the area. Access to the fire is difficult due to steep, rocky terrain and limited roads,” according to Sierra Front Interagency Dispatch Center.

 — Lake Tahoe News staff report

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Comments (11)
  1. Nicole M says - Posted: July 22, 2012

    The smell of smoke is very strong off of Pioneer. I have no experience with fires- is it normal to smell it this strongly if it is so far away? What is the best way to know when to leave if you don’t have a land line and won’t get the Reverse 911 call?

  2. MAP says - Posted: July 22, 2012

    @ Nicole. Yes it is very normal. We get that a lot in this area.

    Don’t worry, be happy

  3. admin says - Posted: July 22, 2012


    This is not unusual. It all depends on the winds, fire location and other factors. The basin has even been filled with smoke from as far away as Yosemite in the past.

    Call the city on Monday to add your cell phone for reverse 911 notification.

    Kathryn Reed, LTN publisher

  4. MAP says - Posted: July 22, 2012

    @ Nicole, here is the web site to the sierra front fire agency. If you go to press releases you can see info on the fire

  5. Nicole M says - Posted: July 22, 2012

    Wow! Thanks for all the great information and for the calming words. I will keep an eye on the website (and this one too)- it seems to be easier to get updates from comments on blogs than from looking for official statements!

  6. Joanne Graden says - Posted: July 22, 2012

    Frankly I’m not buying that the smoke we’re experiencing is from the Pinenuts fire but more likely from the fire north of Mono Lakes. The Pinenuts fire is too far east for the current winds IMHO. Also I was returning to South Lake from Markleeville when several response trucks were headed south on 88 in Hope Valley. I couldn’t see any immediate evidence of fire so have to figure they were headed to Mono County.

  7. Steven says - Posted: July 23, 2012

    Nicole M, I think it is unusual to smell smoke from down in Gardnerville. Yes, we get smoke from the west all the time, from the east it is unusual. Earlier this summer, 2 different fires, about 2 weeks apart burned 3000 acres each, down near Gardnerville. We did not get any smoke from them . It depends on the winds. Tonight, if you live near Susquehana and Washoan Blvd, some people were burning in their yard. Current air conditions, maybe an inversion layer where smoke is trapped at ground level by warmer air above, kept the smoke from this “camp fire” from rising. It just spreads out along the ground. Happens all the time during the winter.
    You can always call the fire department and ask about local fires and report smoke. Here is the number for Lake Valley Fire which services the county–577-3737.
    Currently there is no outside burning allowed due to fire danger. Or even smoking in the forest. Smoke only in your car.

  8. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: July 23, 2012

    The above responses to this woman’s questions are part of what makes Tahoe such a great place to live. While we live in a beautiful natural environment the local community members are pretty great too.

  9. Nicole M says - Posted: July 23, 2012


    I could not agree more! Thanks again to everyone.

  10. JoAnn Conner says - Posted: July 23, 2012

    Hi Nicole, you can also ask the City how to get added to the Civic Alert program that will text your cell phone if there is a true danger. In the Angora Fire, it was cell phones and talk-abouts that were the most reliable. If you had to evacute for safety, believe me, you would have emergency personnel in your neighborhood with loud speakers and/or knocking on your door. Would be a good idea to be prepared in advance, by putting all your important documents in a metal portable file or in several layers of baggies in your freezer. Also make a note of what you would really want to take. My sons had exactly seven minutes to evacuate in the Angora Fire, but had prepared ahead of time.
    Joanne, yes there was a fire in the Pine Nuts, two in fact, and the smoke was blowing this way. My brother’s home was surrounded by fire trucks, with planes dropping retardant on his property, while he cleared fire breaks with his tractor.

  11. Kitten says - Posted: July 23, 2012

    I called the South Tahoe fire dept. The Bijou golf course was heavy with smoke. 544-6110. They told me right away that it was coming from Gardnerville.