For those toughing out the smoke in the Lake Tahoe basin, scenes like these have become the norm, if not the new normal.
#DEVELOPING “We’re inhaling smoke, even in the house.” Residents and visitors to the Lake #Tahoe Basin say the smoke from the #Caldor fire has become almost unbearable, just in time for the normally busy Labor Day weekend. #abc7now pic.twitter.com/imujNs3jgl— Laura Anthony (@LauraAnthony7) August 25, 2021
Tomas Schmitt and Amy Vernetti just arrived in King's Beach for a month in glorious Tahoe. So far--it's been a haze.
"It's not what we expect from Tahoe," said Vernetti,
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"But I think even with a ton of ash flying around, it's still one of the most beautiful place on earth. We're not going to run a marathon in this weather, but a short round of golf is fine."
Lafayette's Sharon Valerio and her husband George usually stay in Incline Village through October, but this year is different.
"We are coming back tomorrow morning," said Valerio. "We are inhaling the smoke, even in the house. We're all miserable. No hiking, no golf, no sitting out for lunch."
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In Truckee, the smoky skies are causing many people to flee back to the Bay Area.
"Our neighbors say they've never seen anything like it," said Randy Davis, who moved up to Truckee last year. "I think for a lot of people, it's been overwhelming. People have been leaving town. I have a neighbor across the street whose taking his kids and going down to the beach."
Over the hill in Reno, things are not much better, with the casinos just ghosts in the distance amid air that's well into the unhealthy range.
RELATED: Residents, travelers avoiding Lake Tahoe due to wildfire smoke
It's all thanks to the massive Caldor Fire just twenty miles away and with no end in sight, it's hard to see what the future holds.
"We hit 600 AQI a couple days ago, 400 yesterday," said Andy Chapman, President and CEO of the Incline Village Crystal Bay Visitors Bureau. "We are seeing the taps turned off. One of larger properties in the region is looking at 25 points of occupancy drop for August based on the cancelations that are coming in right now."
So for Tahoe businesses, a booming summer season may suddenly come to a halt, just in time for the Labor Day weekend.