"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Friday, September 19, 2014

Smokey Days in Sparks, Nevada

The weather here in Sparks, NV is hot and dry, with a lovely afternoon breeze. Unfortunately there's a down side to these otherwise pleasant conditions.  The King Fire (I had no idea they named fires) has been blazing since we arrived, 70 miles west of here, near Pollock Pines, California. At this point it covers almost 70,000 acres and is only 10% contained. The dry, windy weather is not helping the firefighters.  This effects us almost every afternoon at about 4:00 when a vast murky cloud blows slowly into the Reno/Sparks valley and shrouds us in smoke, ash and unpleasant smells, and then sits there until the next morning when it usually has blown away.  

Being Easterners we have had almost no experience with forest or wildfires that are now so common in the far western states.  Our first experience with a widespread forest fire that lasted for many days was the Two Bull Fire in Bend Oregon early this summer (below).

Interestingly, life doesn't stop with a fire nearby. Everything local seems to go on as normal, even though there is intense fire fighting activity less than an hour away.  We hear the reports on local radio of evacuations and the numbers of firefighters, trucks and helicopters that are deployed to battle this fire, but here in Sparks we do errands, swim, hike or take our recreational outings in the mornings, and gripe about the smoke in the afternoons. Strange. 

We can read updated reports on the it and any other fire on a great app for the iPhone called US Fires that gives the locations on a map or a list, with important information like distance from where we are, evacuation warnings and road closures. It also provides links to other more detailed maps and sources of local information. The app is free but you have to purchase each state at a nominal fee. I wouldn't travel in the West without it. 

Our stay here at the Sparks Marina RV Park has been uneventful. It's the kind of suburban RV park where every store you might ever need, plus car washes ands restaurants are practically in walking distance.  We've been in the boonies for about a month so we did chores, stocked up on supplies and groceries, did a little indulgent shopping and successfully completed a much needed RV roof repair job (thank you Rick).  No really big adventures except a drive over to the north end of Lake Tahoe. More about that in our next post, as we're heading that way tomorrow. 

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