RENO, Nev. -- People living downwind of the Bison Fire report heavy smoke has billowed into their areas, but they hope increasing containment of the flames is helping lift the haze.
The Bison Fire, which started Thursday, July 4th, is burning in the Pine Nut Mountains east of Minden/Gardnerville. Winds are pushing much of the smoke east into Mason Valley and the northern end of Smith Valley.
"Yesterday (Saturday) was really bad," said Debbie Greene who lives in the so-called Poverty Flats area of Mason Valley.
Juan Verdugo at Rosie's Place in Wellington, which is south of the Pine Nuts, said they have escaped much of the smoke, "It's mostly north and west of us," he said, adding, "It's a very nice day."
Joe Miceli, Airport Manager at Farias Wheel Airport in Smith Valley, said they can seen the heavy smoke but it hasn't settled in residential areas of Smith Valley, "We can see it, and we keep hoping it doesn't come over the hill."
People in Yerington and the western parts of Mason Valley are experiencing relief, too. "It's real good today, no smoke at all," said Cassandra Stokes who was at the Cabin Fever nightclub in Yerington at the time.
And stand-up comic Kinsie Damon - who lives in downtown Yerington - said, "It's clearing out here."
Most people we talked to said the smoke was worst on Friday and has been getting steadily clearer since.
Some have suggested the relief Smith and Mason Valleys are getting is simply a shift in wind direction. When we talked to Austin Haynes, owner of the Pizza Factory in Dayton, which is north of the fire, he said, "Wind is blowing it (smoke) this way, but it's not too bad."
Lisa Ross with the Bureau of Land Management reports the Bison Fire is now 30% contained and, as of Sunday morning, was estimated to have burned about 6,300 acres.