Wildfires near Lake Tahoe


Photo courtesy of Noah Berger, Associated Press

This fire season so far has been one of the worst in California state history. First, there was the Dixie fire in the East of Chico, California, then the French Fire West of Lake Isabella in Kern County and now there is the Caldor fire which threatened to burn Southern Lake Tahoe down. 

Surrounding counties and small towns south of Lake Tahoe have been on fire since Aug.14. The once light blue sky above Lake Tahoe turned into a blanket of faint red and gray smoke. The fire got so big in the south that residents were ordered to evacuate. 

According to the Incident Information System, the Caldor Fire has burned down 220,548 acres of land. 

Before the fire, the air quality was within a normal 20-30 air quality index, but once the fires began on Aug. 14 the air quality became harmful, reaching a dangerously high aqi score of 180-300 on Sept. 3.

Firefighters at the time recommended that evacuating residents wear gas masks if possible to protect their lungs. Many residents had to flee fearing that they would never see their homes again.  

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the Caldor fire has destroyed 1,003 structures and damaged 81 structures, and caused 5 injuries.

As more residents escape the disaster, firefighters have been able to contain some of the flames. According to Cal Fire, the wildfire started being contained on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

While they go through containment the weather conditions are still a problem. According to InciWeb, hot, dry, and breezy conditions are expected over the fire for the next few days as of Sept. 21. 

When containing the fire, firefighters noticed that there are undamaged businesses ready to be re-opened. According to Cal Fire, the Caldor fire has been 76% contained as of press time. 

Firefighters remain uncertain as to what sparked the Caldor fire. While the fire slowly calms, prayers of hope are being sent to the people of Lake Tahoe that residents will be able to return safe and sound once again.