Fire Crews Struggle Trying to Hold Back Caldor Fire as it Nears Lake Tahoe

Posted: September 1, 2021 3:57 pm

Red Flag Warnings as Unfavorable Weather Conditions Heighten Fire Risk

The popular Lake Tahoe resort area has been covered in a shroud of smoke as fire crews continue to battle the massive Caldor Fire. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the populated area as the fire grows.

Latest on the Caldor Fire

As of late Tuesday evening, the Caldor Fire had almost reached the 200,000-acre mark as it rages across Northern California. The fire has already destroyed nearly 700 homes and businesses since it began on August 14.

The Caldor Fire is at 18% containment as it marches toward the Lake Tahoe area. Here it will threaten over 33,000 homes and businesses in its path, prompting fire crews to make it the top priority in the state. Over 3,500 firefighters are on the scene battling the blaze.

In addition to the mandatory evacuations issued on Sunday in El Dorado and Alpine counties, thousands of more residents were told to leave the area near Highway 50. This major thoroughfare connects South Lake Tahoe with Sacramento.

According to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, over 59,000 people have been evacuated throughout the state because of fires. Approximately 53,000 of these evacuations are coming from El Dorado County.

In addition, residents in Douglas County over the state border in Nevada were also put under evacuation orders.

Red Flag Warning and Weather Forecast

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A Red Flag Warning is in effect until late Wednesday from Modoc County and extending through the northern Sierra Nevada, well past the Tahoe Basin, and down to Mono County. This warning cautions that gusty winds and low humidity levels will raise the fire danger. Both new and existing wildfires have the potential to spread quickly and grow exponentially under these conditions.

A mass of dry air continues to pervade Northern California and is not expected to dissipate prior to the weekend. The western part of the state will begin to show signs of more favorable weather conditions when a deeper marine layer sets up along the coast. Southern California will be the beneficiary of scattered rain showers on Wednesday with more humidity moving in on Thursday. However, a warming and drying trend will cause the humidity levels to fall in the areas that are farther inland.

Quickly Growing Blaze

Monday was not a good day for crews battling the Caldor Fire. The flames were able to jump the mountain and roar down the Christmas Valley and into South Lake Tahoe. As the fire made its way down the mountain and into the valley, multiple cabins were burned and destroyed. The fire also jumped both highways 50 and 89. Earlier in the night, these roads had been used by people evacuating the area.

Fire crews worked on Tuesday to protect homes in the communities of Meyers and Echo Summit. The Heavenly Ski Resort aided in the effort by using snow blowers to boost humidity levels in an attempt to mitigate the spread of the flames.

Lake Tahoe Becoming a Ghost Town

In a normal year, the Lake Tahoe resort area would be busy with visitors setting up for the Labor Day weekend. However, officials are warning tourists to stay away with several resorts closing as a result of the encroaching flames.

South Lake Tahoe’s Barton Memorial Hospital had to close and transfer all of its patients to nearby hospitals.

Dixie Fire Update

The Caldor Fire is not the only inferno in the state. The Dixie Fire is distinguished as being the second-largest fire in the state’s history, having burned over 807,000 acres. As of late Tuesday, the Dixie Fire was only 48% contained.

This fire has destroyed over 1,200 structures, including almost 700 homes. Evacuations have been issued for five counties: Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, and Tehama.

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