Caldor Fire destroys hundreds of homes, grows to 82K acres
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Hundreds of structures have been destroyed, several more have been damaged and thousands remain threatened as the Caldor Fire rages on uncontained.
The blaze remained active in all areas through the night and has grown to 82,444 acres, officials said Saturday morning.
Damage assessment teams have determined that 245 structures have been incinerated, 13 more have been damaged and 15,000 remain threatened. Two residents have been injured.
Officials said due to ongoing damage assessment of the area the numbers of destroyed and damaged structures are subject to change.
Winds decreased Friday afternoon into the evening and switched back to a southerly flow which brought smoke, ash and poor air quality back to Lake Tahoe.
The air quality on Saturday morning all around the lake, including Incline Village and Tahoe City, is rated as hazardous, according to airnow.gov.
U.S. Highway 50 was closed from the roundabout in Meyers to Pollock Pines at about 4:30 p.m. on Friday due to debris from the blaze fell onto the roadway and because of red flag warnings for 20- to 30 mph winds that could gust to 40 mph at times.
It’s a soft closure for residents who live in the Twin Bridges and local areas, but no commercial vehicles are allowed to pass, said the California Highway Patrol.
The highway remains closed with no estimated time of reopening.
The southern winds allowed the fire to continue feasting on dry vegetation and expanded the fire’s perimeter in the northeastern direction, toward Tahoe.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has an evacuation warning in effect for residents from Twin Bridges to Echo Summit, but South Lake Tahoe remains safe from fire at this point.
“Due to very dry receptive fuel beds, the vegetation is igniting easily throughout the fire area,” said a Cal Fire statement. “The increase of relative humidity allowed for firing operations to help strengthen control and containment lines. With historic drought conditions there is heavy dead and down fuels throughout the fire area.”
The USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region has closed nine national forests to better provide public and firefighter safety due to the extreme fire conditions and strained firefighter resources that are spread thin throughout the country, said a press release.
The closed national forests are Modoc, Klamath, Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, Lassen, Mendocino, Plumas, Shasta-Trinity, Six Rivers and Tahoe.
The closure is expected to last through Sept. 6.
The fire began on Aug. 14 and officials have set an expected containment date of Aug. 31.
The fire has devoured nearly 120 square miles
The cause remains under investigation.
Total personnel battling the blaze has jumped to 1,558. There are 142 engines, 14 water tenders, 20 helicopters, 29 hand crews, 22 dozers and numerous air tankers from throughout the state are flying fire suppression missions as conditions allow.
Amador County evacuation warnings
Shenandoah Road at the Amador County line west through the River Pines community, continuing west on Shenandoah Road to Ostrom Road.
South on Ostrom Road to Jibboom Street, West on Jibboom Street to Fiddletown Road.
East on Fiddletown Road to Hale Road. South on Hale Road to Shake Ridge Road.
East on Shake Ridge Road to Charleston Road.
South on Charleston Road to the intersection of Charleston Road and Rams Horn Grade.
Due east to Highway 88 at Tiger Creek Road.
Tiger Creek Road east to Salt Springs Reservoir Road.
East on Salt Springs Reservoir Road to the east end of the Salt Springs
Reservoir. Due north from the east end of Salt Springs Reservoir to Highway 88.
South of the El Dorado-Amador County line with a western border of Highway 88 due south to the east end of Salt Springs Reservoir.
Southern border of the Calaveras County line.
Eastern border of the Alpine County line.
El Dorado County evacuation orders
Grizzly Flat: The areas on Grizzly Flats Road east of Kendra Way into Grizzly Flats Proper. The areas of Diamond Railroad Grade, Old School House, Sweeney Road, Caldor Road, and steely Ridge.
Grizzly Flats Road east of four corners in somerset into Grizzly Flats Proper.
The areas of Myers Lane, Varmet Ridge Road, Rodwell Canyon Road, Snowbird Lane, and Mehwald Lane.
East of Sly Park Road between Highway 50 and Mormon Emigrant Trail to Ice House Road. This includes the communities of Pacific House and Fresh Pond.
North of Highway 50, east of Forebay Road to Ice House Road.
Intersection of Perry Creek and Hawk Haven, the East side of Fairplay Road
from Perry Creek South to Cedarville Road. This includes Slug Gulch, Omo Ranch, and all roads off of Slug Gulch and Omo Ranch.
All roads off of Omo Ranch from Cedarville Road to Hwy 88.
The area between Highway 88 and Mormon Emigrant Trail
South of Highway 50 from Snows Road to Ice House Road.
Between Highway 50 and Slab Creek from Snows Road to Ice House Road.
South of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road. This includes the community of Kyburz.
North of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road to include Ice
House Reservoir, Union Valley Reservoir, and Loon Lake.
Silver Fork Road in Kyburz east to Twin Bridges.
North and south in a line extending from Twin Bridges to the Placer County line and south to the Amador County line.
El Dorado County evacuation warnings
North of Slab Creek to Wentworth Springs Road between Sand Mountain and Loon Lake.
Mosquito Road from the bridge North to include the Community of Swansboro.
North of Highway 50 to Slab Creek between Smith Flat and Snows Road.
South of Highway 50 to Pleasant Valley between Smith Flat and Snows
Road, and North of Pleasant Valley between Holm and Newtown.
South of Pleasant Valley between Bucks Bar Road and Newtown Road, East of Bucks Bar Road to Mt Aukum Road.
Southwest of Bucks Bar Road to Ladies Valley Road including the community of Outingdale, Ant Hill Road, Perry Creek Road and Sand Ridge between
Ladies Valley Road and Bucks Bar Road.
East of Mt Aukum Road (E16) from Bucks Bar Road to Omo Ranch Road.
North of Omo Ranch Road to the intersection of Omo Ranch Road and Fairplay Road.
South of Omo Ranch to the El Dorado County Line between Mt Aukum Road (E16) and Fairplay Road to include Coyoteville Road, Cedar Creek and all tributary roads.
From the evacuation order line in Twin Bridges east to the Echo Summit and from Highway 50 south to the Amador and Alpine County lines and north to the Placer County line.
Dry Lakes Section: This section is north of Wentworth Springs Road up to the Placer County line and the remaining section of El Dorado County south of Placer County to Loon Lake.
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SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — While many of Tahoe’s homes and buildings remained unscathed by the Caldor Fire, several of the basin’s most popular recreation areas did not fare so well.