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“Pivotal day” for the protection of Lake Tahoe; 4,000 acres burn overnight – CBS San Francisco


EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS / AP) – Firefighters faced a critical day to prevent the massive Caldor blaze from reaching the Lake Tahoe resort area on Saturday, fearing that hot and gusty winds would n ‘fuel the stubborn fire.

The Caldor Blaze swept through the mountains just southwest of the Tahoe Basin, masking much of the area in toxic smoke and sending tourists packing their bags at a time when the summer vacation was in full swing before the Labor Day weekend.

Cal Fire said the blaze burned 149,684 acres (233.88 square miles) on Saturday morning, up from 145,463 acres on Friday night. Containment has reached 19%.

Hot winds with gusts of up to 35 mph (56 km / h) were forecast for Saturday, raising fears the winds could spread embers from parched tree tops and start new fires.

“This will be a very pivotal day for us,” said Captain Stephen Horner, Cal Fire spokesperson for Caldor Fire.

The eastern end of the blaze was about seven or eight miles from the town of South Lake Tahoe and didn’t advance much overnight thanks to operations known as “backfire,” where firefighters anticipate the blaze and burn fuel. the fire has nothing to kindle, says Horner.

“They did backfire operations that were just amazing last night in this area,” Horner said.

In a video update released on Saturday morning, Cal Fire operations section chief Eric Schwab also noted the progress along the eastern edge of the fire.

“This area, they’ve made tremendous progress, a 30-hour shootout,” Schwab said. “That line is there, now the hard part is we have to hold it and clean it over the next 72 hours.”

In the western part of the blaze, new evacuation orders were issued Friday evening in El Dorado County along Pleasant Valley Road and all the intersecting roads from Newtown Road to Mt. Aukum Road and all roads accessible from Mt. Aukum Road between Pleasant Valley and Bucks Bar roads.

On Saturday, Schwab noted the work done in the area overnight.

“This area found its mark on us and got out of our control lines. We worked all night last night, we were able to regain control, establish lines, ”he said. “Unfortunately, this move triggered an additional evacuation order, but again, we are making progress in controlling the fire to bring people back inside.”

Schwab said at the end of his briefing: “Still a lot of work, a lot of challenges and complexities on this fire, but we are starting to make good progress.”

Four people were injured in the Caldor fire, two first responders and two civilians. At least 650 structures were destroyed, including 469 homes, Cal Fire said. More than 18,000 structures remain threatened.

Many evacuation orders remain in effect on Saturday, all in El Dorado County:

  • Grizzly Flat: The areas on Grizzly Flats Road east of Kendra Way in Grizzly
  • Decent apartments. The areas of Diamond Railroad Grade, Old School House, Sweeney Road, Caldor Road and Steely Ridge.
  • Grizzly Flats Road east of all corners of Somerset in Grizzly Flats proper.
  • The areas of Myers Lane, Varmet Ridge Road, Rodwell Canyon Road, Snowbird Lane and Mehwald Lane.
  • East of Sly Park Road between Hwy 50 and Mormon Emigrant Trail to Ice House Road. This includes the communities of Pacific House and Fresh Pond.
  • North of Highway 50, east of Forebay Road to Ice House Road.
  • Intersection of Perry Creek and Hawk Haven, on the east side of Fairplay Road from Perry Creek South to Cedarville Road. This includes Slug Gulch, Omo Ranch and all roads off Slug Gulch and Omo Ranch.
  • All roads from Omo Ranch at Cedarville Road to Hwy 88.
  • The area between Hwy 88 and Mormon Emigrant Trail
  • South of Highway 50, from Snows Road to Ice House Road.
  • Between Highway 50 and Slab Creek, from Snows Road to Ice House Road.
  • South of Highway 50, Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road. This includes the Kyburz community.
  • North of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road to include Ice House Reservoir, Union Valley Reservoir and Loon Lake.
  • Silver Fork Road in Kyburz east of Twin Bridges.
  • North and south on a line extending from Twin Bridges to the Placer County line and south to the Amador County line.
  • Areas south of Farnham Ridge Road and east of Bridgeport School Road to the Amador County line.
  • From Twin Bridges east to Echo Summit.
  • From Highway 50 South to Amador / Alpine County Line.
  • From Highway 50 North to Flag Pole Peak.
  • Pleasant Valley Road and all intersecting roads extending south from Newtown Road to the intersection with E-16 (Mt Aukum Road).
  • All roads are accessible from the E-16 (Mt Aukum Road) between Pleasant Valley Road and Bucks Bar Road.
  • This includes all roads and residences accessible from Moon-Shadow and Gopher Hole Road from Bucks Bar Road.

Meanwhile, evacuation warnings are in effect for parts of Amador, El Dorado and the Alps counties. A full list can be found here.

Highway 50 continues to be closed from the Sly Park Road exit to the Highway 89 interchange in Meyers.

The blaze, which was first reported on August 14 near the community of Grizzly Flats, is not expected to be fully contained until at least September 8. Officials said the case was under investigation.

© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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