Concerns in the towns and resort communities near the famed alpine lake as only 9% of the wildfire has been contained
An explosive wildfire is raging south-west of Lake Tahoe, sparking concerns in the towns and resort communities near the famed alpine lake.
The Caldor fire, just 9% contained, has become the nation’s number one priority for firefighting resources, said Chief Thom Porter, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“It is knocking on the door to the Lake Tahoe basin,” Porter said. “We have all efforts in place to keep it out of the basin but we do need to also be aware that is a possibility based on the way the fires have been burning.”
As of Monday evening, the Caldor fire had burned more than 114,000 acres and was 9 percent contained, reported Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency. More than 400 homes have been destroyed and another 17,000 other structures are threatened. Thousands of people in El Dorado County have been urged to leave their homes or to prepare to do so, according to the governor’s office.
Just across the state line in Nevada, some schools in the Reno-Sparks area and in Lake Tahoe were closed Monday because of wildfire smoke.
While wildfires occur throughout the West every year, scientists see the influence of climate change in the extreme heat waves that have contributed to the intensity of fires this summer. Prolonged periods of abnormally high temperatures are a signal of a shifting climate, they say.
“That awareness is going to help us when it happens here in southern California,” Los Angeles fire chief Ralph Terrazas said during a briefing. The mix of spring growth dried out by summer heat and high winds creates “a dangerous condition that could lead to large, fast-moving brush fires,” he said.
California’s fires were among more than 90 large, active blazes in the US, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
In Oregon, officials said a firefighter died Monday while battling a wildfire south-east of Eugene.