Caldor and Dixie fires continue to ravage northern California

Built in the Bay
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

(LAKE TAHOE, Calif.) The Caldor Fire pushed past 200,000 acres early Wednesday morning as scores of more evacuees fled south. The Dixie Fire, still the largest current fire in the state and the second-largest in state history reached 844,041 acres burned Wednesday morning.

The Dixie Fire scorched a daunting 37,000 acres in the past 24 hours, according to Cal Fire. Officials indicated that while air tankers have been effective in maintaining some control and the Dixie Fire has yet to cross Highway 44, spot fires continue to emerge.

The Caldor, which began on Aug. 14 and has now burned 204,390 acres, was roughly 20 percent contained according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Thankfully, low temperatures Tuesday night helped crews with the Caldor blaze. Additionally, Tahoe crews used the snow-making machines at Heavenly Ski Resort to wet the land as the blaze pushed towards the ski resort.

The hope there, according to fire officials, is that the wetland and increasing humidity, in combination with beneficial weather in the coming days, will help fire crews contain the Tahoe area fire.

Fire officials did note, however, that the thick smoke stemming from the Caldor Fire has posed some difficulties for crews on the ground. On Tuesday, the smoke reportedly prevented air tankers from dropping retardant in the area.

The Air Quality Index at Keys Beach in South Lake Tahoe was 134 by noon on Wednesday.

While still very high, the AQI is down from early Wednesday morning when it was 152. Anything above 150 is considered dangerously unhealthy.

Temperatures are expected to remain mild in the coming days and, similarly, winds are not expected to get above 15 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

State park officials announced the closure of all parks within the Tahoe Basin early Wednesday. Several of these parks were within the mandatory evacuation zone on the west, east and south sides of the lake.

Cal Fire officials said that the majority of the structures in the Christmas Valley area were still standing on Tuesday afternoon. At this point, 34,834 structures remain threatened.

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