The Caldor Fire in the Sierra Range continues to blow barriers as it heads toward Lake Tahoe, forcing more evacuations in its path.
Low humidity and high winds are just two of the obstacles facing the 2,100 firefighters currently battling the blaze.
It’s not the biggest fire in the state, but at nearly 120,000 acres and growing and with unfavorable forecasts ahead, it’s a major threat.
“This fire is at the center of everyone right now across the country,” said Captain Keith Wade, Caldor’s Fire Information Officer.
As Labor Day approaches and the Caldor Fire continues to burn, what will happen to South Lake Tahoe’s air quality? Raj Mathai of NBC Bay Area spoke to Mayor Tamara Wallace about the tense situation.
The towns of Kyburz and Strawberry are now fully evacuated as wind and steep, heavily forested canyons continue to block the shootout.
“We call it ‘goat’, where they have to hike and rock and get to those areas,” Wade said.
He said the heavy but extremely dry undergrowth that blankets the forests makes things even more complicated, as Caldor’s fire finds something to feast on as the winds blow it forward.
“We haven’t recorded fires in many of these areas for decades, maybe even 100 years. This tells you that these fuel loads are very heavy when these firefighters move around these terrains, ”Wade said.
The Caldor Fire in the Sierra Range continues to blow barriers as it heads toward Lake Tahoe, forcing more evacuations in its path. Thom Jensen reports.
More than four dozen bulldozers are already involved in the fight against the fires and more are arriving every day, focusing on cutting those fuels and the flames before they reach mountain communities along the highway. .
Firefighters are grateful that people followed evacuation orders and that the roads were cleared for fire traffic only.
“We appreciate their willingness and patience to let us do our job and try to save their homes and keep them safe and we will act as quickly as possible to get them back to their properties,” Wade said.
Firefighters addressed some of these concerns at a remote town hall with residents of the Tahoe-Basin area. They said they were still convinced they would prevent the fire from reaching Lake Tahoe.
Businesses are at 25% of normal, the air quality is unhealthy, which drives tourists away – something the mayor of South Lake Tahoe is painfully aware of.
“Heaven has changed the way we respond to fires in our community,” said Mayor Tamara Wallace. “We know we are in danger even though the fire is 20 miles away. We know that fire behaves differently now.