Caldor Fire Updates: Latest Tahoe CA, NV Evacuations Information, Maps
Forest fires in California
The latest on the forest fires burning in California. Get updates on the Caldor Fire, Dixie Fire, and more, including size, containment, evacuation orders, and more.
The Caldor fire burned actively overnight, surpassing 200,000 acres early Wednesday as it continues to displace tens of thousands of South Lake Tahoe area residents.
The entire town of South Lake Tahoe, home to 22,000 residents, was ordered to evacuate on Monday, along with surrounding communities in the Lake Tahoe Basin and along the lake’s western shore.
Mandatory evacuation orders crossed the state border into Nevada on Tuesday as residents of Douglas County, including Upper Kingsbury and Lower Kingsbury, were ordered to leave.
“The fire remained very active overnight due to extremely poor humidity recovery and warm temperatures,” Cal Fire and the US Forest Service wrote in an incident report Wednesday morning.
The blaze now spans 204,390 acres – over 300 square miles – and is 20% contained, with most of that containment on its western perimeter. It is now the 15th largest wildland fire in state history, according to Cal Fire records.
The Caldor Fire destroyed nearly 550 homes, many at the start of the intense incident across Grizzly Flats south of Pollock Pines in mid-August.
More than 50,000 residents of El Dorado County have now been evacuated from an area covering almost the entire eastern half of the county, the Pollock Pines area and Sly Park on the California-Nevada border, just across east of South Lake Tahoe. This includes the communities of Emerald Bay, Meeks Bay and Tahoma along the western shore of the lake.
The fire has spread east along Highway 50 since it started on August 14. Earlier this week, the fire hit Hwy 89 and began to burn in the hills surrounding the vacation-themed Christmas Valley community in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
A long stretch of Highway 50 between Pollock Pines and the Nevada state border remains closed in both directions.
More than 4,200 firefighters are assigned to the Caldor fire.
Winds lighter than expected on Tuesday, but more gusts to come
The gusts of wind were a little calmer than expected on Tuesday in the fire area, according to Tim Ernst, Cal Fire’s operations section chief on the Caldor blaze.
“Lots of opportunities to make progress last night,” Ernst said in a briefing Wednesday morning.
“We’re lucky the fire didn’t push (toward) Tahoe as hard as it did the day before.”
The National Weather Service has put up a red flag warning in the South Lake Tahoe area until 11 p.m. Wednesday. Cal Fire and the Forest Service in their morning incident report said gusts could reach around 40 mph, which could produce erratic fire behavior throughout the day, including one-off fires.
Fire burns near Kirkwood
Ernst said the Caldor fire “is currently hanging right on the ridge outside of Kirkwood,” the ski resort along Route 88 near the Amador-Alpine County line. The district is also home to around 150 residents.
The COO called the Kirkwood Mountain Resort area a “top concern” on Tuesday and said it would be an area of continued focus on Wednesday.
Ernst said containment lines continue to hold up well in areas west of the fire, near Pollock Pines and Sly Park.
To the northeast, near well-populated areas of the Lake Tahoe Basin, Ernst said strong bulldozer lines have been established which will hopefully protect homes.
Tahoe tourism agencies discourage visitors
The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and the North Lake Tahoe Visitors’ Offices, in a joint statement Tuesday afternoon, asked visitors to postpone any planned visit to the Lake Tahoe area due to the Caldor fire until new order.
“We ask for the support of all to follow the orders of the emergency agencies,” wrote the two tourist agencies.
This is the second time in as many years that Tahoe area tourism officials have made the unprecedented decision to ask visitors not to come. Last year it was because of the COVID-19 pandemic.