Caldor Fire grows to 98k acres; More resources ordered to stop spread

The dark red on the Caldor Fire map shows growth from Saturday. (Provided)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The Caldor Fire continues to chew up timber and dry vegetation in steep terrain as southwest winds are pushing it towards South Lake Tahoe and impacting the basin’s air quality.

The uncontained blaze grew by more than 16,000 acres on Saturday since Friday morning’s update and most of that new growth was to the east to northeast just south of U.S. Highway 50.

A total of 98,149 acres have burned.

Cal Fire officials on Saturday evening said that the fire jumped US 50 in the Kyburz area.

The fire map Sunday morning shows an area burning on the northside of the highway.

“It’s a little more than a hotspot, it’s got a little bit of size to it, but I can’t say exactly how big it is,” Cal Fire Public Information Officer Cpt. Stephen Horner told the Tribune Sunday morning.

Horner said additional resources have been requested as well as additional air attacks to try and keep it contained to that area.

“Resources have been requested to relieve the firefighters that have been working tirelessly around the clock,” he said.

He said that South Lake Tahoe residents don’t need to be worried at this time.

There are no evacuation warnings for South Tahoe, which includes the Christmas Valley and Meyers communities.

During the Saturday evening briefing, a Cal Fire official said they are in communication with officials in South Tahoe. The official said they received a lot of questions from concerned residents.

“They don’t need to be worried at this time,” Horner said. “We have quite a few resources working on it.”

The fire according to the map looks to be approximately 10-15 miles west of Echo Summit.

Officials said power has been turned off from Sierra-at-Tahoe to Fresh Pond.

More than 1,600 people are battling the blaze, including 194 engines, 15 water tenders, 20 helicopters, 32 hand crews and 22 dozers. Numerous air tankers from throughout the state are also dropping as much retardant as flight missions allow.

Cal Fire officials said the biggest tankers are refilling at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento and the small tankers are reloading at the Grass Valley Air Attack Base.

The main highway connecting South Lake Tahoe to Sacramento and the Bay Area, US 50, remains closed. Motorists are being stopped and turned around just past the roundabout in Meyers. Local residents are being allowed to travel to their homes in the area.

Officials said fire activity overnight was moderate due to decreased winds and moderate humidity. Fire behavior and growth in the southern part of the blaze decreased.

The red flag conditions expired on Saturday evening and the wind gusts are much more calm on Sunday with the National Weather Service in Reno expecting 5-10 mph winds.

Damage assessment teams have upped the amount of structures destroyed to 328, 83 more than Saturday when the damage map was released. Civilian injuries remained at two and the amount of structures threatened decreased from about 15,000 to 13,114, according to the Sunday morning update.

The air quality according to is hazardous all around Lake Tahoe. Everyone is being advised to stay indoors and reduce activity level.

A fire map showing acreage progression of the Caldor Fire. (Provided)

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