Fires and Smoky Conditions Cause Delays in Harry Reid’s Flights

California Wildfire Impacts Air Quality and Flight Delays in Las Vegas Valley

Posted on: August 1, 2023, 08:37h. 

Last updated on: August 1, 2023, 08:37h.

The ongoing York Fire, which originated in California and has spread into Nevada, is affecting air quality and causing flight delays in the Las Vegas valley.

A vortex of ash seen in the York Fire
A vortex of ash seen in the York Fire in California’s Mojave National Preserve. The wildfire is impacting Nevada. (Image: AP via CNN)

Due to reduced visibility caused by the smoke and haze from the massive wildfire, there have been approximately two-hour delays for arriving flights and around a half-hour delay for departing flights at the Harry Reid International Airport on Monday morning, as reported by the Las Vegas Review Journal.

Several areas in Clark County, including Sunrise Manor, neighborhoods near Interstate 515, Spring Valley, Green Valley, and Boulder City, have experienced poor air quality due to the fire.

The air quality conditions have been described as “unhealthy” and “hazardous” by the Review Journal.

According to a statement from Clark County, our monitoring stations in Boulder City, Henderson, and east Las Vegas have shown elevated readings for particulate matter due to the smoke and dust generated by distant thunderstorms blowing directly toward them.

“Other portions of the valley are also likely to be impacted,” the statement added.

The fire, which started in California’s Mojave National Preserve on Friday, has grown to cover approximately 70,000 acres as it spread into Nevada by Sunday afternoon.

As of Monday night, the wildfire remains 0% contained. The visibility in the affected area on Monday was often limited to a mile or less, according to the Review Journal.

The expansion of the fire has been fueled by strong wind gusts and dry conditions.

Fortunately, the wind gusts are expected to lessen on Tuesday, which may result in reduced smoke in the Las Vegas valley. Additionally, there has been some rain in the area, which could help limit the fire’s spread.

Firefighters in Nevada and California have been working to contain and suppress the fire. By midday Monday, the fire’s progression towards border towns like Nipton and Searchlight had slowed, and no evacuations were necessary.

Officials predict that the fire’s containment may improve when measurements are taken on Tuesday.

Currently, there are 389 firefighters battling the wildfire, with the intensity of the blaze making their job more challenging.

Understanding Fire Whirls

Fire whirls, also known as fire tornadoes, have been observed in the Mojave National Preserve fire. These phenomena pose a significant danger for firefighters, as reported by CNN.

The Mojave National Preserve describes fire whirls as “a vortex of flames and smoke that forms when intense heat and turbulent winds combine, creating a spinning column of fire.”

According to the preserve statement, these fire whirls are similar to dust devils but are specifically associated with the heat and energy released by a wildfire.

“They can range in size from a few feet to several hundred feet in height, and their rotational speed can vary widely,” the statement explains.

Eyewitness Account

An eyewitness from Cal-Nev-Ari, Nevada, named Archie Fegert, visited Searchlight on Monday and noted that conditions appeared to be “a little better today” compared to Sunday, as reported by the Review Journal.

State Road 164 has been reopened after being blocked by Nevada State Police on Sunday due to the wildfire.

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