Emergency evacuations ordered as Caldor Fire nears Lake Tahoe basin

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A huge wildfire became more threatening to Lake Tahoe on Thursday, leading to the first evacuation notices to be issued to residents residing inside the basin.

The Caldor Fire's affected area has increased to more than 213 square miles, and the inferno has annihilated the tiny hamlet of Grizzly Flats in the process. This fire is now a national number one priority because it is heading towards Lake Tahoe, a favorite vacation destination that has beautiful beaches, clear water, rocky shores, and breathtaking scenery in the Sierra Nevada.

Nearly 2,900 firemen, 21 helicopters, 245 engines, and a variety of bulldozers have been assigned to the fire since its onset on August 14th.

Google reports that the point where the Caldor Fire blazed closest to the lake was about 15 miles southwest, as calculated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES satellite data.

New evacuations, including the Lake Tahoe basin, were ordered by fire authorities on Thursday. Those in the neighboring Twin Bridges and Echo Peak regions were advised to evacuate immediately, while residents of Christmas Valley, who live in the valley below the high summit in the basin, were warned of a possible evacuation.

So far, 637 buildings have been demolished in the ongoing damage assessments. Over 17,000 buildings were at risk.

In addition to the natural beauty of the freshwater lake, tourists were greeted by an opaque, nauseating yellow fog and ash.

Ramona Trejo, whose husband is celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary, said that they traveled to Tahoe. To avoid the poor air quality, they fled to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to play slots.

Due to breathing difficulties, Trejo needed to take oxygen supplements, but her husband wanted to continue gambling, she claimed. “I'd want to go now,” she told him.

Diane Nelson's daughter and her fiancé had met at Fallen Leaf Lake, where Rick Nelson and his wife Diane had planned to organize a weekend wedding. The smoke drove most of the residents away.

The Nelsons arranged to relocate the wedding from the glacial lake two days to the San Francisco Bay Area, three-hour drive south.

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New York Post

People are attempting to make compromises in light of the smoke. Diane Nelson stated that it was regrettably becoming a reality for us.

Before the wildfire, the Tahoe basin and surrounding towns, including numerous resorts, were hoping that the towering granite cliffs would protect the lake from the flames. However, according to authorities, the fire, like others in the state, had proven them incorrect. Although the Lake Tahoe basin was threatened, they were optimistic that the fire would be contained.

Fire and weather experts warned Wednesday evening that the next several days and the weekend may provide workers the opportunity to more thoroughly control the wildfire. Though wind speeds are predicted to decrease, the weather will still be very hot and dry.

The only route utilized to reach Lake Tahoe from California was Highway 50, which had many sections blocked because of the wildfire raging nearby. Firefighters engaged in numerous skirmishes with minor fires that sprang up across the roadway to keep the fire from spreading.

In all, there were 14 major fires, including a blaze that started in Southern California on Wednesday. Although the inferno has so far avoided the level of flames that have plagued the north all summer, its severity cannot be ignored.

Los Angeles County's South Fire, approximately 45 miles east of the city, spread to 700 acres and destroyed 18 houses, business buildings, and other structures. Fires were less active after midnight, although they were still on mountainside slopes.

Nearly 20% of the fire was extinguished over the course of 9 days in the southern Sierra Nevada. At the Sequoia National Forest, several buildings were burning, putting towns to the west of Lake Isabella, an area where many people enjoy outdoor leisure, in danger.

Meanwhile, the second-largest California fire in history, the Dixie Fire, is 45 percent controlled in the Sierra-Cascades area, 65 miles north of the Caldor Fire. Almost 1,300 structures have been burned since the fire started in early July, with almost 700 of them being residences.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, said that on Thursday, 88 major flames were burning in 13 Western states.

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