The resort is in the direction of California’s Caldor Fire, which is raging due to strong winds and dry conditions.
A large firefighters gathered Tuesday to defend Lake Tahoe against a raging wildfire that forced the evacuation of California communities on the southern side of the alpine resort and let others know across the state line in Nevada to be ready to flee .
The streets of the popular holiday resort, usually full of thousands summer tourist, was anything but abandoned after the rapid growth of the Caldor Fire forced a mass evacuation on Monday, causing hours of traffic in the direction of the network.
“It’s more out of control than I thought,” said evacuated Glen Naasz of the fire, which was hit by strong winds across two major highways late Monday while burning mountain homes as it descended the slopes of the Tahoe Basin.
More firefighters arrived just after dark Monday and many were dispatched to protect homes in the Christmas Valley area, about 10 miles (10 miles) from downtown South Lake Tahoe.
Heavy smoke periodically prevented air protection last week. But since then, 23 helicopters and three air tankers have dumped thousands of gallons of water and delays on the fire, said Dominic Polito, spokesman for the fire.
The National Weather Service warned of critical fire conditions until Wednesday due to strong gusts, very low humidity and extremely dry fuels.
Ken Breslin is stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic about a mile from his home in the city of 22,000, with only a quarter-tank of gas in his Ford Escape. His son begged him to leave Sunday night, but he pulled him down, sure that if there was to be an evacuation order, it would be later in the week.
“Before, it was, ‘Don’t worry … it’s not going to be crazy. It’s not going to come down the hill. There are 3,500 firefighters, all the bulldozers and all the air support, ” he said. “Until this morning, I did not think there was a chance it could get into this area. Now, that’s very real. ”
As flames moved to South Lake Tahoe, residents across the state line in Nevada received evacuation warnings.
Monday’s evacuation orders come a day after nearby communities were suddenly ordered to leave while the fire raged. South Lake Tahoe’s most important medical facility, Barton Memorial Hospital, has evacuated dozens of patients. The sheriff of El Dorado County transferred prisoners to an adjoining prison.
‘There’s a fire activity in California that we’ve never seen before. The critical thing the public needs to know is to evacuate early, ”said Chief Thom Porter, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire. ‘For the rest of you in California: every acre can and will one day burn in this state.
The threat of fire is so widespread that the U.S. Forest Service announced Monday that all national forests in California will be closed until September 17.
More than 6,800 wildfires this season have darkened an estimated 689,000 acres (1.7 million acres) in California alone – many of them on Forest Service property – which in 2021 enabled the record amount of last year consumed by flames , to surpass.
The Caldor is on fire emerged as one of the most devastating and disruptive this season, spreading over 71,740 acres (177,000 acres) since Aug. 14, and firefighters were able to cut off about 14 percent of its perimeter as of Monday.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the fire destroyed at least 472 homes and other structures, resulting in five injuries, a mix of firefighters and civilians.