Remember all those city-dwellers from the West Coast metro areas who swarmed iconic Lake Tahoe because of the virus pandemic and social unrest?
Well, many might be rethinking their move amid threats of a dangerous wildfire burning near the Tahoe basin. Smoke has made the air quality around Tahoe unbreathable, and the first evacuation warnings have already been posted.
As of Thursday evening, the fire burned 139,000 acres and may wipe out a small town of Grizzly Flats. The fire is 12% contained, and its rapid growth threatens lake area homes.
Winds and temperatures are expected to increase in the coming days as humidity decreases, adding to the many challenges for firefighters. Two thousand nine hundred firefighters, 21 helicopters, 245 engines, and dozens of heavy machinery have been working around the clock to contain the blaze. Preliminary damage assessments show 650 homes, businesses, and other structures have been destroyed so far. Another 18,000 structures are in the path of the fire.
This is the closest I’ve seen the northern spotfire get to hwy 50 east of Kyburz. Homes here have fire closing in on both sides. Strike teams here to stomp out any crossing embers. Cal fire says efforts are being made to send in night ops. Weather permitting #caldorefire @ABC10 pic.twitter.com/fPbV3FWxzb— Van Tieu (@Van_Tieu) August 24, 2021
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES satellite data shows the Caldor Fire is less than 15 miles southwest from the lake.
Fire officials issued a new evacuation warnings Thursday that included areas inside the Lake Tahoe basin.
Earlier this week, Emily Lauren fled the area and told local television station KXTV that she wanted to get out before people started panicking. "There are 20,000 or more people in Tahoe, and I didn't want to deal with the traffic and leaving...and sitting in 10 hours of one lane trying to get out," she said.
The fire is one of 88 large fires and complexes in 13 states. There were more than a dozen big fires in California.