Tod Johnson stayed in South Lake Tahoe, despite the fact that most of his neighbors fled South Lake Tahoe because of a major wildfire.
After spending the night watching for flames, the 66-year old retired man swept the pine needles off his roof and yard on Tuesday. He was aware that police were there but they told him to leave until it is safe.
“I promised my child that I would get out of here as soon I saw any fires. He said, “I’m trying my best to be there to help firefighters.”
Johnson was concerned about the wind gusts as the fire grew closer to Lake Tahoe. He said that he would leave Tuesday afternoon to meet his girlfriend in Reno. Once he had packed a few valuable items, he was ready to go.
While more than 20,000 residents and likely thousands of tourists packed roads leading out of Lake Tahoe on Monday to flee the Caldor Fire closing in on the resort community, a handful of people decided to buck the mandatory evacuation orders and stay behind.
Most people will obey orders to evacuate in many emergency situations, including hurricanes and wildfires. There are always some exceptions and reasons why they stay.
As powerful Hurricane Ida bore down on Louisiana over the weekend, some residents said they couldn’t afford to leave because they didn’t have money for gas or a hotel room.
More communities are faced with evacuation orders in the West, where wildfires burn more intensely each year. There will always be some people who refuse to leave, despite all the advice given by government officials and emergency personnel.
Staying behind can make firefighters’ lives more difficult and force them to rescue people as well as property.
Since Aug. 14, California’s Caldor Fire has scorched nearly 300 miles (777 km) of Nevada’s Lake Tahoe-dotted side. This has prompted mandatory evacuations in small towns and the city of South Lake Tahoe on Monday.
The 22,000-strong city is located at the southern end of the lake, which has been engulfed by thick smoke and haze since the flames grew closer. According to Lindsey Baker (city spokeswoman), only 20 residents refused to evacuate Monday. Most were lining up to flee the streets.
Some of those who left said that they were determined to pack more and protect their property longer.
Bill Roberts stated that he had originally planned to leave South Lake Tahoe along with the rest of the group, but was too tired and hurt to go. The cat ran away, and he delayed the trip again.
“Depending on what the wind does, it might make me a little more cautious today. He said that he hoped to be able to nab the cat at some point and get out of here as soon as possible.
Locals may have stayed as they didn’t know where else to go, despite the fact that there were emergency shelters available on both sides.
David Duet, a South Lake Tahoe resident, is homeless. He camp in a meadow along half a dozen of his friends. Duet said that they don’t have any other place to go and dismissed the idea to flee to Carson City. A stranger offered him a ride Monday.
Duet stated that he and his friends have been checking the radio and internet for any updates about the fire. They plan to ride their bikes out or get a ride from someone if the situation gets very bad.
“No one is stupid enough to leave when flames are engulfing the meadow. As long as the smoke doesn’t get too bad and the flames don’t get too close, we’ll stick it out, you know?” Duet stated. “But if it’s not, we’ll hightail our way out. We will get out.”
The local sheriff’s office enforces mandatory orders, although it is not clear how often they enforce them with threats of arrest.
According to the Los Angeles Times, three people were arrested by the local sheriff’s department for refusing to evacuate Westwood because of a wildfire raging further north in California in early August. They were taken to jail and cited before being released.
Officials have not reported any arrests in connection to evacuation orders near Lake Tahoe.
Russ Crupi decided that he would stay to protect his and his neighbor’s homes in the mobile home park he and his wife manage for a living. His wife and children fled to Reno. He remained and set up sprinklers around the park.
As he stated that he intended to stay and wait, law enforcement officers approached him and took his name and number.
“I am worried about what will be there when people return.” He said that people want to return to their homes and that is what he would do.
Tonia Rhodes works as a casino server and expressed concern about her husband. She also said that he had decided to remain at their Meyers home, south of Lake Tahoe in defiance of an evacuation order.
Rhodes stated that her husband was there with four of his friends to protect the house from any future fires. After the 2007 Angora Fire, Rhodes and her husband had to rebuild their home.
While Rhodes waited to see if the MontBleu casino resort in Stateline might be evacuated, she said that she couldn’t imagine moving and that she was unable to live with the anxiety of another fire.
She said, “I don’t want to do that anymore.” “I don’t know where to go.” “Where would you go?”