As the vicious Caldor Fire refuses to relent, first responders are now using snow machines to fight its rage. Along southern Lake Tahoe, thousands of firefighters are working tirelessly to combat the flames. As close to 200,000 acres of land lays scorched, while the fire is at 16% contained.
Photos show the use of the snow machines spraying the area, which is glowing orange. At least 23 helicopters have assisted the fight by dropping retardant and spraying the area, according to Fox News.
The weather in California has been increasingly dry, adding to the threat of fires as well. Officials in the area made the decision to close all national parks through Sept. 17.
“We do not take this decision lightly but this is the best choice for public safety,” regional forester Jennifer Eberlien said in a release. “It is especially hard with the approaching Labor Day weekend, when so many people enjoy our national forests.”
Thousands evacuated as the fire grows to unsurvivable levels, leaving nothing but destruction in its path. More than 447 homes and six commercial structures burned as the fire raged beginning Aug. 14.
“There is fire activity happening in California that we have never seen before. The critical thing for the public to know is evacuate early,” Chief Thom Porter, the director of Cal Fire, said. “For the rest of you in California: Every acre can and will burn someday in this state.”
Caldor Fire Lowers Air Quality
In addition to the blaze, clouds of unhealthy smoke continue to fill the region. Last week, officials tested the air quality in the region. It was concluded that the air posed a major threat.
Residents who’ve chosen to stay are still being urged to stay inside with windows closed. The air quality reached a risky 694 API.
“For those of you wondering if the air quality yesterday was the worst ever in the Reno/Sparks area … the answer is an unfortunate yes,” the National Weather Service in Reno tweeted Monday, according to CNN.
Additionally, the situation is so dire, inmates from the local jail have been moved to nearby facilities.
Moreover, the neighboring state of Nevada is now discussing emergency plans. Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency for its residents as the fire edges toward the border.
Due to dryness and drought, states in the west are facing lower than normal water levels and high temperatures. Conditions for a fire are likely to increase with these factors not letting up.
However, officials continue to work to contain the damage to the popular destination spot. Many visitors are receiving cautions to save their visits for another year.
Lake Tahoe is generally a popular destination spot year-round. Since he fires began, tourists are changing their plans. This comes ahead of a usually busy Labor Day weekend.