Lake Tahoe Prepares to Take Emergency Action as Caldor Fire Nears

by Courtney Blackann

The raging Caldor Fire continues to burn in California as residents in Lake Tahoe prepare to flee the area. The fire, which has burned more than 112,000 acres and dropped air quality to dangerous levels is not fully contained.

While firefighters are working tirelessly to edge the situation, Lake Tahoe is the fire’s latest target. Since Aug. 14, the fire burned along Highway 50 and throughout El Dorado County. It has consumed nearly 500 homes and six other commercial structures.

Now residents in and around Lake Tahoe are taking action and preparing to leave, according to reports from The Huffington Post.

“Everything’s holding real good along Highway 50,” said Cal Fire Operations Section Chief Cody Bogan. “The fire has been backing down real slowly… we’ve just been allowing it to do it on its own speed. It’s working in our favor.”

Normally, Lake Tahoe is a popular tourist destination spot. However, with evacuation orders in place and officials warning visitors about the dangers, the area will likely not feel the same this year. As Labor Day approaches, authorities said that “social, political, and economic concerns will increase as the fire progresses toward the Lake Tahoe Basin.”

Further, as several tourists are still skirting the area, traveling on bikes or hiking the trails, many are wearing masks to block out the dense smoke blanketing the area.

Caldor Fire and Air Quality

Earlier this week, the areas surrounding Lake Tahoe reached a devastating level of 694, forcing residents to stay inside with windows shut.

“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.

Unsafe levels of air quality reach a major risk anywhere between 300 and 500. The severely dangerous air quality is adding to the issues residents are facing.

While the Dixie Fire burned close to 500,000 acres, firefighters are working around the clock to contain the Caldor Fire.

Cal Fire Director Thom Porter previously warned that the fire could continue to expand.

“We have all efforts in place to keep it out of the basin, but we do need to also be aware that that is a possibility based on the way the fires have been burning and the concerns that we have been living in all of these other fires and their growth,” Porter said.

The earth near the basin is a blanket of smoke and ash as residents decide whether to stay or leave. First responders and city officials continue to monitor the situation as the holiday weekend approaches and air quality remains dangerous.