Smoke from California wildfires closes schools in Reno area

September 14, 2022 GMT

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Smoke from wildfires in Northern California has prompted public school officials to close most campuses to in-person instruction Wednesday in the Reno and Sparks area.

Washoe County School District officials cited current hazardous air quality, National Weather Service projections and the potential for harm to vulnerable students and those who walk or bike to school.

The University of Nevada, Reno and Truckee Meadows Community College also canceled classes for the day but said online classes and essential services would continue.

More than 3,000 firefighters are battling a wildfire that was discovered Sept. 6 in rugged mountains east of Sacramento and has charred more than 91 square miles (236 square kilometers) in the Tahoe and Eldorado National Forests in Placer and El Dorado counties.

Officials on Wednesday reported 20% containment of the blaze, which forced evacuation orders during the weekend for 11,000 residents of California communities including Foresthill and Georgetown. More than 5,800 structures in Placer and El Dorado counties were under threat.

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The Reno Gazette Journal reported that public schools would be open in Incline Village near Lake Tahoe and Gerlach, about 100 miles (161 kilometers) north of Reno because air quality there was better.