Caldor Fire: Lake Tahoe Spared by Blaze Due to Weaker Than Expected Wind Gusts

by Michael Freeman

The Caldor Fire has been wreaking havoc since it began last month. Though the surrounding area still sustained significant damage, the wildfire luckily spared Lake Tahoe.

Receiving an emergency evacuation order in several areas just days ago, Lake Tahoe was slated to receive devastating damage from the fire. However, weaker than expected wind gusts held the wildfire back last night.

Ordinarily a bustling town, South Lake Tahoe inhabitants completely deserted last night for fear of the approaching Caldor Fire. Already scorching more than 200,000 acres of land, firefighters contained only 20% of it by Wednesday. Making things worse, the fire was less than four miles away.

However, favorable weather aided firefighters’ efforts to save communities on the south end of Lake Tahoe. Sadly, it is still too early to breathe easy, as dry weather conditions and high winds could spell trouble for the area.

Tim Ernst, an operations section chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, expressed his relief to firefighters in a briefing.

“We lucked out a little bit yesterday with some of the winds that didn’t come up quite as hard as we expected them to. We were fortunate the fire did not make as strong a push into Tahoe as it did the previous day.”

Additionally, firefighters are now trying to veer the wildfire into lands already scorched by the Tamarack fire. This is a smaller, more contained area.

“It’s a fresh burn, and if we get it steered into there… that basically stops the spread of fire. It’s a very valid tactic that we’re trying to do,” Eric Schwab, an operations section chief with Cal Fire, stated Tuesday.

Hopefully, their plan succeeds and the Caldor Fire can be a thing of the past.

California Closes All National Forests for ‘Public Safety’ Amid Caldor Fire

Hardly surprising, California recently closed all state national parks for “public safety” reasons. The Caldor Fire greatly exacerbated California’s wildfire problems.

“We do not take this decision lightly,” said California’s Regional Forester Jennifer Eberlien. “But this is the best choice for public safety.”

Initially closing “nearly all” California National Forests Tuesday, the fire’s severity prompted the closure of the remaining ones.

“It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend when so many people enjoy our national forests,” she continues. “But it must be done. As the USFS states, the move serves to ‘better provide public and firefighter safety due to the ongoing California wildfire crisis.'”

As such, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced the closure began on August 31. Provided the Caldor Fire containment goes as planned, the parks will all open back up on September 17.

Considering the devastation California faces, hopefully, nothing new on a Caldor Fire scale arises.