NEVADA CITY –
Campers on the last weekend of the summer season are concerned about air quality, but are making trips to the Sierra Nevada Mountains despite it.
The massive American Fire near Foresthill burned for several weeks and left smoke and haze throughout the Tahoe National Forest. But many campgrounds miles from the fire are unaffected.
Ken McCormick made reservations at the White Cloud Campground outside Nevada City. He noticed the smoke while driving through Auburn.
“Driving up here is when I first noticed it. It was pretty thick and pretty smoky,” said McCormick.
But he was happy that it was clear at White Cloud.
A lot of people called about camping conditions, according to Sarah Hill, spokesperson for the Tahoe National Forest.
“The camp host here said it’s been clear for the past five days,” said Hill.
A bigger concern is the high fire danger. There are fire restrictions for backpackers who can only use a portable camp stove, and then only with a permit.
“If folks are going to be at a developed campsite like this, where there are built-in fire rings and pits built for fire, then fires are still okay,” said Hill.
It can still be smoky near the Foresthill area where the American Fire is now fully contained. All nearby campgrounds are open, but Forest Service officials say to watch out for fire equipment that is still using the roads.
A steady stream of campers arrived at White Cloud campground throughout the day. Many feel the same as Lisa McCormick.
“Everything we saw said it was okay to come up here. It’s a good time to come up here and enjoy,” said McCormick.