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Caldor Fire Blowing Smoke Into Tahoe Towns

TRUCKEE (CBS13) - The air quality is still hazardous in some areas across the region. Experts say it's dangerous for people to spend a lot of time outside.

Business leaders hoped the Highway 50 closure would bring people to Truckee where shops and restaurants are open. But instead, they're finding the sheer amount of smoke is too much, and both locals and tourists are getting out of town.

"This is fire all around us, and that's very unusual," Stefanie Olivieri, owner of Cabona's, said.

She was born and raised in Truckee and says she's bracing for what's next.

"No one is happy to be in this smoke," she said.

Olivieri says the sheer amount of smoke—first from the Dixie Fire and now the Caldor Fire—is driving her customers out of town.

"We're getting less people coming up, if they're smart because it's definitely not good for your health. It has slowed business," she said.

Just across the street from her shop, thick toxic air covered the treetops, while the wind blew a huge plume into town.

Tahoe and Truckee are immediately downwind from the Caldor fire.

Local Realtor Breck Overall says the smoke has impacted his business, too.

"I've had four clients cancel their visits because of the smoke," he said.

Overall's plan is to take his mountain bike and leave town as soon as possible.

"I already feel it in my throat and walking around," he said.

He's worried about how the community will get through yet another setback.

"We survive on visitors and second homeowners and they're not coming," he said.

Lynn Saunders with the Truckee Chamber of Commerce says she's seen fewer visitors but says that's normal for mid-August, as kids head back to school.

But she has no doubt businesses will feel a hit as the smoke keeps people indoors in this outdoor mountain town.

"Those [air quality index] numbers are so high, so people are adapting and doing what they have to and staying indoors," she said. "That's all you can do, really."

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