Update 6:10 p.m. Estimated cost so far $100 million; community meeting at 8 p.m. tonight at South Tahoe Middle School
With an estimated $100 million in damage and at least $1 billion in economic losses tallied, state officials have deemed El Dorado County as a disaster area as a result of the Angora fire that started Sunday afternoon in the North Upper Truckee area up to Tahoe Mountain on the South Shore.
The fire, which is being considered the worst for the South Shore in at least a half century, was still no more than percent contained on Monday. It has consumed about 2,500 acres and claimed 220 homes and other structures. No one has been reportedly injured, and no cause has been determined.
The fire, which was prompted by wind and fuel according to officials, is under investigation.
Thousands of people have been evacuated and other left stranded with no estimated time residents may return to their homes. More than 700 firefighters and 22 strike teams are now working the fire with lines set on a 35- to 45-degree slopes due west of South Tahoe High School.
Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, toured the site ” which resembles a war zone ” and lead the effort with El Dorado County Supervisor Norma Santiago of District 5 to get the proclamation issued.
“This is an incredible disaster. I’m so impressed with how the local agencies have worked together,” Gaines said.
The recognition entitles local jurisdictions for funding and represents the first step in allowing individual homeowners to be eligible for federal aid. Santiago contacted U.S. Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein to spearhead a federal declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Tonight a community meeting has been scheduled for 8 at South Tahoe Middle School on Al Tahoe Boulevard.
El Dorado County Sheriff Jeff Neves said he expects residents to be able to return to their homes within the next two days.
The fire is under investigation, with no cause revealed except that it is believed to be “manmade.”
El Dorado County Sheriff Jeff Neves released a phone number in order for homeowners to check on the status of their homes at 530-541-5660 (ext. 336) or via http://www.edso.org. Incident command operations are in the process of moving to Heavenly Mountain Resort’s California Base Lodge from Lake Tahoe Airport.
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