'It may look worse than it is': Future of Lake Tahoe clarity in question as wildfires worsen

Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe, near South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

CARSON CITY, Nev. — When a wildfire crested the mountains near North America’s largest alpine lake, embers and ash that zipped across a smoky sky pierced Lake Tahoe’s clear blue waters.

The evacuation order for thousands to flee their homes has been lifted, but those who returned have found black stripes of ash building up on the shoreline – a reminder that success fighting the Caldor Fire won’t insulate the resort region on the California-Nevada line from effects that outlast wildfire season.

Scientists say it’s too soon to draw conclusions about the lasting damage that record-setting wildfires will have on Lake Tahoe. But they’re not wasting time. Many expect to bring their research plans to the Tahoe Science Advisory Council at a meeting Thursday.

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