Fire crews suffered some difficulty in containing the Caldor Fire Sunday, as unfavorable weather conditions caused the fire to spread closer to densely populated areas of Tahoe Basin, a report said.
Crews have now reached 13% containment after a long day at the firelines. As of Sunday evening, the fire had burned 168.387 acres.
“Everything is burning differently today. We’re seeing movement like we saw about 15 days ago,” Cal Fire operations section chief Eric Schwab said at the Sunday evening briefing. “A few days ago, I felt that we were turning the corner with this… To put it into perspective, we have been seeing less than half a mile of movement around the fire’s perimeter over the past couple of weeks. This is moving about two-and-a-half miles today with no signs it’s slowing down.
On Sunday afternoon, evacuation orders were issued for Alpine, El Dorado, and Amador counties. The new evacuation orders also include Meyers, which lies just three miles from Lake Tahoe Airport. Highway 50 is burning near Twin Bridges. Schwab stated, “It is impassable right at the moment.”
People living south of Highway 88 along the Amador/El Dorado County line from Dufrene Road to the Amador/Alpine County line are required to evacuate immediately, a Cal Fire news release said. The evacuation zone in El Dorado County includes all residents of Christmas Valley, from Highway 89 West through Echo Summit to Highway 89 Westbound to Watershed Ridge, Echo Summit, and south to the Amador/El Dorado County Line.
Alpine County’s order covers all residences along Highway 89 from Luther Pass Road to Pickets Junction, and westbound on Highway 88 until Kirkwood. The Italian Picnic Grounds is where you will find a temporary evacuation point of the Red Cross.
El Dorado County also issued an evacuation warning from Sawmill Road at Lake Tahoe Boulevard, to Pope Beach. Residents should be prepared to evacuate at any moment, but they are encouraged to do so whenever possible.
Highway 88 has been closed. Residents must flee the area by driving north on Highway 50 or Highway 89. Schwab stated that the fire’s south boundary is approximately one mile from Highway 88.
Crews of firemen are planning to take a stand at Echo Summit. This is the part of Highway 50 where the Tahoe Basin begins at the cliffside. If the fire falls below this summit, it will directly burn down to high-populated areas in Meyers and South Lake Tahoe. With a red flag warning in effect for high winds on Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening, critical fire conditions remain on the horizon.
The Strawberry Lodge is a charming inn that was once a stop on the Pony Express. Staff and customers can only wait for good news.
The lodge posted on Saturday that they were thinking about their staff, neighbors, and regulars.
“We appreciate your positive memories and thoughts. We are grateful for your support. There is still hope.”
Caldor Fire erupted on August 14th in heavy timber in Eldorado National Forest, near Grizzly Flats, south of Pollock Pines. It caused a massive fire that destroyed nearly 1,200 homes. Photos taken from the aftermath show a school, a post office, and homes that were left in ash piles. Highway 50 is the main road between Lake Tahoe, Sacramento, and California. Since August 20, the road has been closed.
Cal Fire stated that 471 single-family residences and 11 commercial properties were destroyed. Damage assessments are still underway, and a map of damaged structures is available from Cal Fire. Over 18,000 structures remain threatened, and evacuation warnings stretch from Amador to Alpine to El Dorado counties.