NATIONAL NEWS

Lake Tahoe evacuation orders lifted, but fire threat remains

Sep 7, 2021, 5:58 AM | Updated: May 21, 2023, 4:46 pm

Cal Fire firefighters pull a hose while battling the Caldor Fire on August 31, 2021 in Meyers, Cali...

Cal Fire firefighters pull a hose while battling the Caldor Fire on August 31, 2021 in Meyers, California. The Caldor Fire has burned over 190,000 acres, destroyed hundreds of structures and is currently 58 percent contained. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — The lifting of a mandatory evacuation order for South Lake Tahoe’s 22,000 residents is a confident milestone in the fight against the Caldor Fire, but it remains only 48% contained and still threatens areas south of the resort town.

Firefighters are confronting aggressive winds and flames in some southeast sections of the Caldor Fire, which could still reach Meyers, a community more than a mile high known as the gateway to Lake Tahoe, and other areas including the Kirkwood ski resort.

And although the evacuation is no longer mandatory for the smoke-cloaked city on the lake’s south shore, more than 5,000 personnel are still working to protect the surrounding resort communities and the homes of employees who staff casinos, restaurants and ski resorts.

“We’re also looking long term — what’s going to happen, four, five or six days down the road. We want to make sure we’re planning and having stuff ready and completed” before more people can return home, Cal Fire official John Davis said. “And if it comes sooner, we are already in the planning process for the whole area that’s still under evacuation order.”

When the 338 square-mile (876 square-kilometer) wildfire gobbled up pine trees and crossed the Sierra Nevada last week, South Lake Tahoe transformed into a ghost town. The city appeared slightly rebounded on Monday, yet mostly empty compared to normal holiday weekends.

“I was honestly convinced this place was gonna go down,” Lake Tahoe Community College student Dakota Jones said Monday upon his return. “It was nice to see that I was wrong.”

The Caldor Fire erupted Aug. 14 and was burning as many as 1,000 acres an hour at its peak as it spread across dense forests, tree-dotted granite cliffs and scattered cabins and hamlets in the northern Sierra Nevada. Through tactics including bulldozing defense lines and air-dropping Lake Tahoe water onto the flames, crews successfully carved a perimeter around much of the wildfire.

Fire officials still expect hot spots, but hope to make enough progress to lift more evacuation orders in the coming days. Much depends on the wind, rain and lightning that coming thunderstorms may yield.

Winds have been easing, allowing firefighters to make progress containing the conflagration, but authorities remain concerned about southwest winds sparking spot fires. In Northern California, the weather is expected to cool slightly and the humidity to rise starting on Tuesday.

“We are drier than I have seen on my 20 days on this fire,” Jim Dudley, incident meteorologist, said Monday. “There’s a lot of potential weather-wise for little things to become maybe not so little.”

California and much of the U.S. West have experienced dozens of wildfires in the past two months as the warming, drought-stricken region swelters under dry heat and winds drives flames through vegetation. More than 14,500 firefighters were battling 14 active fires in the state on Monday, and since the year began more than 7,000 wildfires have devoured 3,000 square miles (8,000 square kilometers).

No deaths have been reported specifically from the fires, which have shut down all national forests in the state.

Further south, the National Weather Service in Oxnard, California said hot dry weather was expected for interior valleys and deserts with elevated fire conditions through Friday.

___

Metz is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft...

Jackie Wattles, CNN

Two astronauts wait to come home as Boeing races to understand spacecraft issues. Here’s what’s at stake

Two test pilots helming the inaugural crewed flight of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft are in a tentative position — and so is Boeing’s reputation in spaceflight.

1 hour ago

Matera, Italy, has been a UNESCO World Heritage site for more than 30 years.
Mandatory Credit:	Poik...

Angelica Chiara Yazbeck and Louis Mian, CNN

Historic building in Italy damaged by parkour tourists

Jumping from building to building in an ancient city might seem like a dream for those who practice parkour — a sport that involves making it past obstacles — but it can cause damage to historic buildings.

1 hour ago

Community members in Denver's Central Park neighborhood have a lot of questions after discovering a...

Karen Morfitt, KCNC

Registered sex offender found operating ice cream truck in Denver

Community members in Denver's Central Park neighborhood have a lot of questions after discovering a registered sex offender was operating the neighborhood ice cream truck.

2 hours ago

Tuesday February 9, 2006. Photo by Scott G. Winterton / Deseret Morning News.The Ten Commandments m...

Sara Cline, Associated Press

New Louisiana law requires that The Ten Commandments must be displayed classrooms

Louisiana has become the first state to require that the Ten Commandments be displayed in every public school classroom.

2 hours ago

Tropical Storm Alberto has formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of what...

Jaime stengle and Mariana Martinez Barba

Tropical Storm Alberto forms in southwest Gulf, 1st named storm of the hurricane season

Tropical Storm Alberto has formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the first named storm of what is forecast to be a busy hurricane season.

5 hours ago

An air tanker soars through a large plume of smoke over and around wildfire-affected areas in the v...

MORGAN LEE Associated Press

At least 1 dead in New Mexico wildfire that forced thousands to flee, governor’s office says

Thousands of southern New Mexico residents fled a mountainous village as a wind-whipped wildfire tore through homes and other buildings.

6 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Lake Tahoe evacuation orders lifted, but fire threat remains