Caldor Fire Forces Ski Area Closures as it Nears Lake Tahoe, CA

Firebrains | FireFire
Caldor Fire, california, Sierra-at-tahoe, wildfire,
The Caldor Fire, CA. Credit: Copernicus

On Saturday, the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County southwest of Lake Tahoe crossed Highway 50 near Kyburz as high winds forced the blaze within six miles of Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort. US 50, which links South Lake Tahoe to Sacramento and the Bay Area, remains closed.

The fire, which began in Eldorado National Forest on August 14th, has burned 104,309-acres and is 5% contained

“This is turning out to be a larger and more significant fire in California’s history. It’s far from over.”

– Captain Stephen Horner, a Cal Fire spokesperson

The Forest Service yesterday announced an emergency closure of nine National Forests through at least September 6th. The Eldorado National Forest had already been closed from August 17th through September 30th.

Caldor Fire, Kirkwood, Sierra-at-tahoe, california, wildfire,
Perimeter of the Caldor Fire, and its proximity to Sierra-at-Tahoe and Kirkwood.

Heavenly, Kirkwood, and Sierra-at-Tahoe Resorts last week all announced their summer operations are closed indefinitely. The power at Sierra-at-Tahoe has been turned off.

“Due to ongoing risk of wildfire to the Tahoe Region, Heavenly is now closed for summer. We thank our guests and staff for a great summer and now turn our attention to winter. We’ll be ready when the snow flies and look forward to welcoming you back for the 2021/22 winter season.”

Heavenly Resort

Cal Fire on Sunday noted that containment remains intentionally low due to focussing on reducing the threat to structures in the path of the fire. Evacuations are still in effect for tens of thousands in El Dorado County and have moved into neighboring Amador County as the fire creeps closer to South Lake Tahoe.

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Air quality around Lake Tahoe. Credit: iqair

Air quality index readings are over 300 near the lake and over 400 near Truckee. Over 150 is “unhealthy,” and over 300 is “hazardous.”

1,618 personnel are fighting the blaze, including 194 engines, 32 hand crews, 22 dozers, 20 helicopters, and 15 water tenders.

US Forest Service closure order.
US Forest Service closure order.

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2 thoughts on “Caldor Fire Forces Ski Area Closures as it Nears Lake Tahoe, CA

  1. Actually, CalFire is short staffed. There is about 30 to 40% less hand crews on staff this year which are critical to establishing fire lines. This is due to the elimination of prison crews (CDCR) primarily.

  2. Unfortunately, CalFire et al. are stretched too thin to protect structures and work on containment. This is not because they short staffed this summer, it is because there is just too great a demand on the collective fire agencies. I saw fire engines staging at a fueling station near the base camp and I noted that the door emblems were from all over…then I realized that there was only one engine from each location. I recall from past fires that the engines from each location would roll together but now it appears that the supporting engines are too few to send multiple to fires.

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