Some South Tahoe residents evacuated, all on alert as Caldor Fire bears down on basin
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — Many have been forced to flee their homes and everyone has been put on warning in South Lake Tahoe and on the West Shore with the Caldor Fire bearing down on the basin.
Multiple evacuation orders and warnings have been issued Sunday in multiple counties (View the list of orders and warnings below).
The fire on Sunday exploded beyond dozer lines, burned into another community and flames can be seen on a webcam at Sierra-at-Tahoe.
The evacuation orders and warnings seemed imminent at any time on Sunday with an eerie red glow in the sky, along with black embers and heavy ash falling on homes below Echo Summit.
Residents who were ordered to evacuate left their homes and filled the outlet roads.
El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office deputies used sirens as alerts and went from home to home making sure people were leaving.
The blaze has grown to 168,387 acres and containment dropped to 13% from a reported 19% on Sunday morning.
“Today’s been a rough day and there’s no bones about it,” said Jeff Marsoleis, forest supervisor for El Dorado National Forest. A few days ago, he thought crews could halt the Caldor Fire’s eastern progress, but “today it let loose.”
Officials said they saw a significant increase in dynamic fire behavior resulting in rapid fire spread, and the blaze is showing no signs of slowing down.
“To put it in perspective, we’ve been seeing about a half-mile of movement on the fire’s perimeter each day for the last couple of weeks, and today, this has already moved at 2.5 miles on us, with no sign that it’s starting to slow down,” said Cal Fire Division Chief Eric Schwab.
The fire has is burning in Camp Sacramento, Cal Fire Public Information Officer Isaac Lake said but couldn’t confirm how many structures have burned.
Firefighters dealt with the hottest and driest day so far in their efforts to stop the spread of the blaze that started more than two weeks ago, on Aug. 14.
The fire is incinerating dry, dense timber in steep rugged terrain at a rapid rate.
“It’s so dry out there that when embers blow out into the unburned fuel beds, the probability of ignition is 90%,” Lake said.
Crews working in the rugged terrain scrambled to douse spot fires caused by erratic winds that were casting embers one-half to ¾ of a mile, officials said.
Some areas of the terrain are so rugged that crews had to carry fire hoses by hand from U.S. Highway 50 as they sought to douse spot fires caused by erratic winds, the Associated Press reported.
The dynamic fire behavior is likely to get worse on Monday. The National Weather Service in Reno issued a red flag warning that goes into effect in the afternoon and lasts through Tuesday. Wind gusts are expected to reach up to 50 mph on exposed terrain and ridgetops with a consistent 15 mph flow from the southwest.
Total personnel on the fire is at its highest point so far, 3,531.
El Dorado County Evacuation Orders
• Christmas Valley from Highway 89 West to Echo Summit
• Highway 89 due West to Watershed Ridge/Echo Summit and South to the Amador/El Dorado County line.
• The area from Luther Pass Road, north along the El Dorado/Alpine County line to
• Armstrong Pass. West from Armstrong Pass to Upper Apache at Meyers. West on Upper Apache to Highway 50. West on Highway 50 to Highway 89. South on Highway 89 to the El Dorado/Alpine County line. This includes all homes on both sides of Highway 89.
• The area from Upper Apache at Meyers, north along Highway 50, to Elks Club Drive. East on Elks Club Drive to Pioneer Trail, extending due south to Upper Apache at Meyers. (This includes all homes off of Oneidas, Mandan, Apache, Ottawa and Player).
• The area North on Highway 50 from Highway 89 to Saw Mill Road. West on Saw Mill Road to Angora Ridge, extending to the Echo Summit.
• Desolation Wilderness from the watershed ridge to the CA ENF/CA TMU wilderness boundary. From the El Dorado/Placer county line to Echo Lakes.
El Dorado County Evacuation Warning
• The remaining area of the Lake Tahoe Basin. From the Alpine/El Dorado county line, north along the California/Nevada state line to Lake Tahoe. North along the waters edge to the El Dorado/Placer county line. West along the El Dorado/Placer county line to McKinney Lake.
• The area from Sawmill Road at Lake Tahoe Blvd. extending north to Pope Beach. Along the water’s edge to Eagle Point. From Eagle Point west, to Desolation Wilderness, across Emerald Bay.
Alpine County Evacuation Orders
• Highway 89 South from Luther Pass Road to Pickets Junction (Highway 88) • West on Highway 88 to Kirkwood
• Highway 89 south, from Luther Pass Road to the Pickets Junction (Highway 88). West on Highway 88 to Kirkwood. South to include Kirkwood Ski Resort and Caples Lake.
Alpine County Evacuation Warnings
• Highway 88 at Forestdale Road. West of Forestdale Road and south to the Pacific Crest Trail Crossing. West of the Pacific Crest Trail to the Summit City Canyon Trail. West of Summit City Canyon Trail and south to the El Dorado / Stanislaus National Forest Line. El Dorado / Stanislaus National Forest Line west to the Alpine and Amador County line.
South of Armstrong Summit to Woodfords to Forestdale Road, north of Highway 88 and Highway 89 to Armstrong Summit.
• A Red Cross Shelter is open for those evacuating from the area at the Douglas County Community Center, 1329 Waterloo Lane, Gardnerville, Nev.
• The Highway 50 closure has been extended East to Sawmill Road
• Highway 50 at Sawmill
• Pioneer Trail at Elks Club
• Elks Club at Highway 50
• Highway 89 at Highway 88 junction
• Fallen Leaf at Tahoe Mountain Evacuation Routes:
El Dorado County residents evacuating the area should use U.S. Highway 50 East or Highway 89 North.
Alpine County Residents should leave west on Highway 88 to Northbound 89 to Eastbound Highway 50
Please go to: http://www.tinyurl.com/EDSOEVAC for an online evacuation map. All previous evacuation orders and warnings remain in effect
A mandatory evacuation order is defined as an immediate threat to life. This is a lawful order to leave now. The area is lawfully closed to public access.
An evacuation warning is defined as a potential threat to life and/or property. Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now.
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MEYERS, Calif. — The Caldor Fire has claimed more than 700 single family residences since it began on Aug. 14 but Christmas Valley and Meyers homes remained relatively unscathed.