By the day, the fire situation on the ground of South Lake Tahoe continues to worsen, with more than 200,000 acres burned, 50,000 people evacuated, and a red flag warning that remains in effect for a swath of eastern California.
According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, otherwise known as CAL Fire, the Caldor Fire has burned 204,390 acres as of Wednesday morning and is only 20% contained. The fire is rapidly expanding because of favorable weather conditions, such as low humidity, hot temperatures, and winds.
Evacuation orders for all residents in the South Lake Tahoe area began on Tuesday, and so far, 50,000 people have been relocated. Winds are expected to pick up Wednesday, adding more fuel to the fire as a red flag warning is in effect until Wednesday night.
Military planes have been tracking the fire and guiding firefighters to hotspots hidden underneath the dense smoke.
"Very, very sensitive sensors can pick up any signature of heat," said Joel Kerley, a Department of the Interior bureau aviation manager. "We'll plot it, we'll get that down to the firefighter on the ground, and they can go attack it."
We showed yesterday probably the most shocking video from what is now being dubbed 'Lake Tahell.'
This video from Lake Tahoe is insane pic.twitter.com/9nZGJdwK42— Angelina Martin (@angewrites) August 29, 2021
Evacuee Glen Naasz told CBS News that he's "afraid" the fire will "burn down the jewel of California," referring to the Lake Tahoe area.
The Sacramento Bee said the fire threatens 34,000 homes and buildings around Lake Tahoe. Gov. Gavin Newsom has said it's the state's "No. 1 priority" to extinguish the blaze.
At least 4,000 firefighters and 1,000 National Guard members are battling the fire though Mother Nature has yet to offer any signs of relief.
Another large wildfire burning in the state is the Dixie Fire, which has already scorched 844,000 acres across five counties and is a little more than half contained.
The silver lining is that the fire will wipe out chipmunks infected with the plague.