Gondola fire burning out of control near South Lake Tahoe
One day before its biggest holiday of the year, a major wildfire is burning out of control east of South Lake Tahoe near the Heavenly Ski resort.
The fire has consumed more than 25 acres and is speading with 20 to 30 mph winds.
The areas of upper Kingsbury Grade, from East Benjamin Drive to the top of Daggett Summit is being evacuated on a voluntary basis. More than 1,200 people live in the the upper Kingsbury area.
All available fire resources on both the Nevada and California sides were responding, as well as fire protection agencies from throughout the basin, Douglas County and Carson City. Air tankers from as far away as Chico, Calif. are battling the blaze.
Heavenly officials confirmes about 200 people stranded on top of at the top of the Heavenly gondola were transported to Douglas High School in Minden.
“Everyone is off the mountain,” said Molly Cuffe, public information officer with Heavenly.
“The fire climbed the hill quickly, just east of the gondola,” said a fire official.
Traffic is Stateline is stalled as tens of thousands of visitors are in the area for the holiday.
Summit Village homeowner Rick DiSalvo, who was in the evacuation area said he smelled smoke around noon, and about an hour later saw large plumes of smoke billow into the air.
Roads are closed along Highway 208, west bound and east bound on Kingsbury Grade.
The fire began around noon.
The Tribune will update this story on the Web site as it develops.