Letter: Evacuation warnings should require visitors to leave Tahoe (Opinion)

Dear Editor:

I was honored to have been a part of the fight against the Caldor Fire amongst Tahoe’s most dedicated firefighters. As such, I witnessed first-hand the evacuation process that was adeptly managed by our law enforcement personnel.

I was grateful for their work as it enabled our firefighters and apparatus to move around uninhibited. That being said, the evacuation was made relatively easy by the fact that most visitors to the area had already left because the air quality was so poor. Had the normal complement of visitors been here (to the tune of 15 million every year), it may not have gone so well.

I have sent a request to our El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and our South Lake Tahoe city manager to consider the following changes to our evacuation protocols. When an evacuation warning is implemented for our county, all non-residents must treat it as an evacuation order and be required to leave. Residents and second-homeowners may stay, but should be prepared to evacuate at any time.

I am sure that our local tourist-based businesses will get behind this as it demonstrates that we highly regard the safety of our visitors. I hope these government entities will at least discuss the issue, since we all know that this will not be the last time that fire comes to Tahoe.

Leona Allen, Meyers

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