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Lake gets a break

RENO — Scientists said Mother Nature helped limit environmental damage to Lake Tahoe after last year’s Angora fire, which burned 3,100 acres and destroyed 254 homes.

While experts worried that excessive runoff would deposit large quantities of sediment into the lake, the area was spared heavy downpours last summer, and this spring was cool, allowing the snow to melt gradually.

Monitoring continues to determine whether any pollutants are migrating off of the Angora fire area and into streams and rivers flowing toward Lake Tahoe.

“We’ve been very fortunate,” said Nancy Alvarez, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. “The weather was really good to us this year.”

The USGS, Desert Research Institute and University of California, Davis, are monitoring the waters of Angora Creek and the Upper Truckee River, Tahoe’s largest tributary, for pollutants originating from within the fire area.

The Angora fire, sparked by an illegal campfire on June 24, 2007, exploded out of the Angora Creek drainage outside South Lake Tahoe, Calif.

Land managers and scientists were concerned that ash, sediment and algae nutrients could enter Angora Creek, flow into the Upper Truckee River and reach Lake Tahoe. The result could be an algae bloom and other degradation to the landmark lake.

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