Thousands of people have been forced to escape the Caldor Fire, which has shut down U.S. 50 westbound.
Thousands of people have forced to escape the Caldor Fire, which has shut down the U.S. 50 westbound.
CALIFORNIA ‘S SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — On Monday, tens of thousands of people hurried to flee South Lake Tahoe as the whole resort community was ordered to evacuate as wildfires raged near Lake Tahoe.
On Sunday, evacuation advisories were issued for the city of 22,000 people, which were later changed to orders on Monday. Vehicles towing boats and carrying motorcycles stopped in gridlock, stranded in hazy, brown air that smelt like a bonfire. Police and other emergency vehicles passed by in a flash.
At Golf Club Drive, U.S. Highway 50 blocked to westbound traffic.
On social media, South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Travis Cabral stated, “This is a methodical evacuation, one area at a time.” “As a community, I implore you to maintain your composure.”
The fresh orders came a day after the Caldor Fire, which was raging nearby, forced the evacuation of villages several miles south of the lake.
According to public information officer Mindi Befu, South Lake Tahoe’s primary medical institution, Barton Memorial Hospital, proactively evacuated 36 patients in need of skilled nursing and 16 in acute care beds on Sunday, transferring them to regional hospitals distant from the fire. Following Monday’s extended instructions, the remainder of the hospital evacuated.
Tamara Wallace, the mayor of South Lake Tahoe, was getting ready to depart with her husband, youngest kid, pets, and things from their deceased father that couldn’t replaced.
The Caldor Fire, she reasoned, would remain farther away. In the past, fires did not spread as quickly near tourist destinations.
“It’s simply another illustration of how wildfires have evolved over time,” she added. “It’s simply the confluence of 14 to 18 years of dead trees, droughts we’ve experienced since then, and things like that.”
The National Weather Service has issued a critical fire weather warning for the area for Monday and Tuesday.
Multiple houses damaged by fire along Highway 50, one of the major roads to the lake’s south end, on Sunday. It also ripped through the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort, destroying several structures but leaving the major structures at the base standing.
A wildfire raged only a few miles southwest of the Tahoe Basin, sending tourists fleeing at a time when summer vacations would normally be in full gear ahead of Labor Day weekend.
Cabins reported being on fire at Echo Lake, an unincorporated hamlet where Tom Fashinell has run Echo Chalet with his wife since 1984. The summer-only resort provides cabin rentals,
but owing to continuing wildfires, the US Forest Service forced it to shut early for the season.
According to Fashinell, he riveted by the local television news. “We’re keeping an eye on the building to see whether it survives,” he added.
South Lake Tahoe caught off guard by the last big fire in the region, which erupted from an unauthorized campfire in the summer of 2007. The Angora Fire was just 5 square miles in size, yet it damaged 254 houses,
wounded three people, and caused 2,000 others to evacuate.