Smoke hazing the skies of Northern Nevada is blowing here from fires burning in Southern California and is expected to remain in the area through much of the week, experts said.
Despite the haze, air quality was rated in the good range earlier this week, according to officials from Washoe District Health’s air quality division.
A primary culprit in the smoke is the massive Zaca Fire burning near Santa Barbara, said Kyle Mozley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Reno. A southwesterly flow of winds is carrying the smoke northward to settle over the Northern Nevada region, he said.
“It’s blowing up this way,” Mozley said. “That’s where most of it is coming from.”
The Zaca Fire has burned for six weeks and charred about 148 square miles of brush and forest, officials said. The fire surged across 13 square miles of arid brush overnight Sunday, officials said.
Smoke is also blowing toward the area from the Tar Fire near Fresno, which has burned almost 5,000 acres.
Smoky conditions are not as bad as when a fire is burning locally but could produce uncomfortable conditions for the elderly or those with breathing problems, said Duane Sikorski, air quality supervisor for the health department.
“If it’s bothering people, they should curtail any outdoor exercise,” Sikorski said. “Just stay indoors.”
Afternoon winds should clear the smoke away but it’s likely to settle again overnight, producing hazy mornings throughout the week, Mozley said.
Minden glider pilot confirmed dead
Sheriff’s deputies confirmed on Monday a body discovered in the wreckage of a glider is that of the pilot they’d been searching for since he last was heard from via radio the afternoon of Aug. 10.
Geoffrey Loyns, 56, of Minden took off from Minden Airport on that day. He was found in the wreckage Sunday morning at an elevation of about 10,000 feet on White Mountain south of Minden across the California state line, the Mono County Sheriff’s Department said.
Deputies are assisting the National Transportation Board in investigating the accident.
Loyns originally was from Cardiff, Wales. A furniture pattern-maker, he moved to San Francisco in the 1980s and also had lived in Colorado.
His daughter, Martine Loyns, 33, of Penarth, South Wales, told Britain’s Press Association he was believed to have suffered a heart attack. She said he had been flying for 30 years.
“His passion was flying,” she said.
Fire victims benefit from ballet festival
Sierra Nevada Ballet’s performance of “A Celebration of Genius II” next week will benefit victims of the Angora fire, organizers announced.
Thirty percent of all ticket sales from the events held on Aug. 22 and 23 will go toward the relief effort. The performance is part of the annual Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival, set on the shores of Sand Harbor. It features a variety of dance, including ballet, tap and contemporary, performed by international dance stars such as Domingo Rubio, Eugene Petrov and Sam Weber, the “fastest feet in tap.”
“People who come to our performances tell me that they are awestruck by the dancers, costumes, sets and music,” said Rosine Bena, the ballet’s artistic director. “As a local ballet company, we were equally awestruck by the impact of the Angora fire. Though we’re a non-profit organization and rely heavily on ticket sales, we feel strongly about helping our community, and this is a wonderful opportunity for us to do so.”
Golf benefit planned for Nevada families
A fundraising event aimed at assisting the families of Nevadans who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan is planned for Sept. 29 at the Silver Oak Golf Course Event Center in Carson City.
A classic car and bike show and a display of military equipment is scheduled from 3-11 p.m., with proceeds from the event going to the Nevada Patriot Fund. Donations will then be distributed to the soldiers’ families, event organizers said.
The day to salute Nevada’s fallen heroes and their families is also scheduled to include a street dance, entertainment, the appearance of guest celebrities and fireworks.
Over the past six years, more than 40 Nevada soldiers have been killed in the Middle East, and many more have been injured.
Organizers are seeking assistance in producing the event. For information on how to donate or for vendor registration, call Judie at 841-7000, Ext. 1019.
JAC bus passes at Hispanic Services
Bus passes for Carson City’s public transit system, are now available at Carson City Hispanic Services, 637 S. Stewart St. , Suite B.
“Selling bus passes at Hispanic Services will really benefit our Spanish-speaking community,” said Raquel Knecht, director of the Hispanic Services Carson City Office.
“Our clients can now purchase their public transit passes more conveniently and in a place where they are familiar,” she said.
Riders can purchase JAC passes and tickets at six locations: Hispanic Services of Carson City, The Carson City Library, Western Nevada College, the Carson City Senior Center, the Treasurer’s Office inside City Hall, and the city’s Transit Operations Office. Ticket outlet addresses are listed on JAC’s Web site at www.rideJAC.com, along with other information. Information is available in both English and Spanish.
Nevada casinos win record $12.7 billion
Despite a slowing economy, Nevada casinos closed fiscal 2007 with a record $12.74 billion win from gamblers and a 4.6 percent increase over the previous year, according to a state report released last week.
The win, reported by the state Gaming Control Board, was the amount left at the casinos by gamblers who wagered a record $170 billion during the fiscal year.
“It’s an all-time record fiscal-year gaming win, but it’s the smallest growth rate in the last four years,” GCB analyst Frank Streshley said, adding that the latest increase is well under the previous year’s 10.7 percent growth and slightly below the average 5.4 percent growth over the past 10 years.
Resorts on the Las Vegas Strip, which won just over half of last fiscal year’s statewide total, a record $6.75 billion, had a 5.9 percent increase in win. Streshley said that’s good given a slowing state and national economy and a major resort closing — the Stardust — during the year.
Clubs in downtown Las Vegas were down 3.8 percent, the largest decline around the state.
Over the past six years, the downtown clubs have had only one year of increasing win — and that was only by about 1 percent in fiscal 2005.
Casinos in the Reno-Sparks-North Tahoe area in Northern Nevada were down 0.3 percent, taking in $1.07 billion from gamblers during the fiscal year.
Streshley noted the Reno area accounted for just over 8 percent of the statewide win, down from nearly 13 percent 10 years ago.
In other major markets, casinos on Lake Tahoe’s south shore won $332.6 million for a 3.2 percent decrease; and Elko County clubs in northeastern Nevada, bordering Idaho and Utah, won $289 million for a 9.9 percent increase.