Caldor ‘still presents a threat’ as high winds roll in |

Caldor ‘still presents a threat’ as high winds roll in

Krysten Kellum
Mountain Democrat
The Caldor Fire viewed from California State Route 88.
Mike Peron/Tahoe Daily Tribune

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — While the Caldor Fire has been held at 221,774 acres and 76% containment for several days, firefighters say high winds forecast for Monday through Tuesday morning could set them back.

“This fire may look innocent but it still presents a threat,” said U.S. Forest Service public information officer Korey Morgan at Monday evening’s briefing from incident command at Heavenly Mountain Resort in South Lake Tahoe.

Winds are expected to calm after Tuesday morning.

Those high winds grounded rotor wing operations for much of Monday, according to California Interagency Incident Management Team 12 Operations Section Chief Al Ward. Fixed-wing aircraft were allowed to operate as they are less affected by wind.

On the ground Ward reported firefighters are seeing heat near containment lines in the Echo Lakes area. He said crews are “tactically patrolling” and working to control interior flare-ups but “nothing has crossed the line.”

A new fire has sparked to the north of the Caldor Fire between Wright’s Lake and Desolation Wilderness. But air attack is seeing “minimal growth” there, according to Ward.

“Prior to the wind increasing to the point where we could not work (helicopters) we did put bucket drops on that fire,” Ward said.

Near Silver Lake containment lines are coming together.

“If you look at the map today, it looks a little different. We are starting to gain ground on that (area),” Ward explained while pointing to containment lines northwest of Silver Lake on a large map.

Ward said there is still a pocket of hand line on that stretch of Caldor’s perimeter that “continues to be stubborn and give (firefighters) heat near the line.

“All of our lines are being challenged by the wind but (we) are meeting that challenge.”

Fire crews are also seeing an interior island of active fire where the 2019 Caples Fire burned in the Caples Creek area north of Highway 88.

“(We) are using a lot of aerial assets to put water on that,” Ward reported.

On the uncontained perimeter north of Lake Margaret firefighters are going “deeper and deeper to secure that active edge,” Ward said, adding that firefighting activity was curtailed there Monday due to high winds and fire-weakened trees that pose a threat to firefighters.

Team 12 Incident Commander Michael Nobles reported that Team 13 will take over command Wednesday.

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