Tens of thousands of people who were forced to flee South Lake Tahoe could soon return to their homes, after evacuation orders were reduced to warnings Sunday afternoon. Crews worked against a huge wildfire.
Warnings were issued instead of the orders to evacuate 22,000 residents from the resort last week. The fire was only a few miles away from the California-Nevada border forest areas.
KCRA-TV reported that officers from California Highway Patrol began removing roadblocks along State Route 50 at Stateline in Nevada. The area was evacuated from the National Guard members who were involved in the fight against the fire.
Although the threat of Caldor Fire still exists, it has been reduced to a warning. This allowed those who wished to return home to what was a ghost town and not a bustling Labor Day getaway.
At an evening briefing, South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Clive Savacool stated that “so far it hasn’t been a mad dash of cars.” “We are happy to see that people are gradually trickling in, but the city needs time to prepare,” Clive Savacool said.
Savacool stated that officials hoped to open the local hospital’s emergency room within 24 hours. He also said that paramedics were manning fire engines for emergency medical treatment.
He said that people with medical problems may want to stay away from the smoky atmosphere.
Savacool stated that people who return home should have enough food and medication, as well as enough gas to fuel their vehicles.
Savacool stated that law enforcement was still on the lookout for “your home to be safe” and continued to patrol.
Authorities warned, however, that bears were spreading garbage everywhere, even in the absence humans.
“The delicate balance between bears and humans has been disturbed,” anyone who suspects that a bear might have entered their home should contact law enforcement, El Dorado County sheriff’s Sgt. Simon Brown stated.
Mandatory evacuation orders for Nevada’s Nevada border were lifted on Saturday. However, Douglas County officials urged residents not to panic as the fire could still threaten homes.
According to Cal Fire, the wind-driven fire that had at its peak burned more than 1,000 acres per hour in northern Sierra Nevada was mostly contained within current containment lines overnight. It was currently 43% contained.
Although most of the fire’s western and southern sides had been contained, some areas were still uncontrolled.
At a morning briefing Tim Ernst, a chief of fire operations, stated that no homes were lost on the eastern side fire closest to the lake. Crews also managed to create more fire line along the edge of a fiery fingers, which had not moved east.
“Everything has held real well” despite some flareups among timber and some hot spots in the west and southeastern sections of the nearly 340-square-mile (880-square-kilometer) blaze, Ernst said.
In recent days, winds that were driving the flames through tinder dry trees, grass, granite outcroppings eased. Fire crews were able double down on bulldozing and burning fire lines.
Cal Fire reported that the fire, which started on Aug. 14, destroyed over 700 homes and razed a large hamlet in Grizzly Flats. It also injured nine civilians and firefighters.
California and large parts of the U.S. West saw dozens of wildfires over the past two-months as drought-stricken regions sweltered in hot, dry weather. Winds drove flames through the bone-dry vegetation.
Nearly 14,500 firefighters battled 13 active, large fires in California. Cal Fire reported that more than 7,000 wildfires had ravaged 3,000 miles (nearly 81,000 km) since the beginning of the year.
There were no deaths reported from fire-related incidents. Officials said that two firefighters died this week from illnesses.
Marcus Pacheco, a Lassen National Forest assistant fire engine operator with over 30 years experience, was killed on Thursday. Authorities said he was assigned to the Dixie Fire north of the Caldor Fire.
Other details were not immediately available.
The Dixie Fire, which began in mid-July at the northern Sierra Nevada, is the second-largest wildfire ever recorded in state history. According to Cal Fire, it has burned almost 1,400 miles (3,625 kilometers) in five counties, and three national parks, and forests.
Authorities said that a retired firefighter, who had been hired to assist with the French Fire, died of complications from COVID-19.
He was identified by the name Allen Johnson.
“Our team, firefighting community, and the world lost an amazing friend, mentor and teacher last night,” stated a California Interagency Incident Management Team Facebook post last Wednesday.
After burning approximately 41 square miles (106 km2), the French Fire in Kern County was contained to 52%.
All national forests have been closed down due to fire concerns.
California has seen wildfires that are more severe and deadly in recent years. This is because the West has become much warmer and dryer over the last 30 years. Scientists predict that wildfires will become more severe and more unpredictable as weather patterns change.