Nevada governor says state using all available resources to fight Caldor Fire
CARSON CITY, Nev. — With ash falling from a smoke-filled sky here on Tuesday, Gov. Steve Sisolak stood outside at a podium and told reporters that Nevada is using every resource it has to fight the Caldor Fire as it burns toward the city of South Lake Tahoe.
“We are using all of our resources, everything we have at our disposal to protect homes and businesses and our beautiful Lake Tahoe,” he said.
Nevada Division of Forestry Deputy Director John Christopherson said only two fires in history have crossed over the Sierra from the west to the east, “both this year.”
“This is the new norm,” he said. He said it shows “the need for more aggressive forest management.” He said crews have cleared some 31,000 acres of fuel on the Nevada side but that much more needs to be done.
Christopherson said his division now has five engines, 24 hand crews and two National Guard helicopters and a total of 130 people working the fire. He added that more crews are on the way.
They also have two specialized aircraft called “super scoopers” because they can pick up a load of water by flying right at lake level without having to land at an airport.
“We are preparing for the worst-case scenario,” said Jon Bakkedahl of the Division of Emergency Management.
Sisolak said the Nevada National Guard has also activated staff and Adjutant General Ondra Berry said he can double or triple the number of Guardsmen working the fire if and when necessary.
“This is really a whole of government approach,” Berry said, adding that the emergency operations center at the armory is now operating 24 hours a day.
Bakkedahl said all the agencies involved started preparing for this effort over 10 days ago in coordination with Cal Fire.
He said the Nevada Department of Transportation developed the plan that was used Monday to evacuate South Lake Tahoe residents and the same plan will be used again if those living on the Nevada side need to be evacuated.
No new evacuation warnings or orders were issued for Douglas County residents at the lake.
All those involved in the planning were activated Monday when the governor issued his emergency proclamation.
Deputies from the Washoe, Carson and Douglas sheriff’s offices as well as the Nevada Highway Patrol have joined efforts to ensure evacuations are safe and well coordinated. The Red Cross was brought into the planning to help make sure evacuees had a place to go.
Christopherson said Tahoe is a national model for effective cooperation between agencies.
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Butte County, Calif. — Last year’s Dixie Fire in Butte, Plumas, Lassen, Shasta, and Tehama counties started on July 13, burned a total of 963,309 acres, destroyed 1,329 structures and damaged 95 additional structures.