September 24 2021 03:30 pm

South Lake Tahoe residents cautiously optimistic about return


SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) — With fire crews getting a better handle on the Caldor Fire, more and more people are allowed to return home to South Lake Tahoe as evacuation orders have been downgraded.

Tommy Ciccone and his three dogs are some of the first locals to return.

“These dogs are so happy to be home,” Ciccone said.

Ciccone evacuated a few days before the mandatory orders and took his trailer to Oregon and Mammoth lakes before coming back.

“It’s still kind of a ghost town,” Ciccone said. “I’m shocked at how quickly they got our town taken care-of and safe.”

After nearly a week of being told to evacuate, South Lake Tahoe and Tahoma residents got the chance to come home as the evacuation orders were downgraded to warnings.

Tony Mora, a South Lake Tahoe resident, is relieved this ordeal is getting close to being over.

“I’m excited to be home — it has been a crazy trip,” Mora said. “Our town is still standing strong.”

With the city now under an evacuation warning, South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Clive Savacool said people will have to be self-sufficient as it will take a few days for emergency resources to be up and ready.

“Because we are still in a warning and air quality still isn’t great, it might not be the best time for you to come back up,” Savacool said. “If you are in a safe place, good air quality, stay where you are at.”

Ciccone is soaking-in the good news, but he is prepared if things get worse.

“I have the trailer ready,” Ciccone said. “And packed, still, from the last evacuations. I’m ready to go.”

The hospital is not up and ready, though they hope to get the emergency department started-up within 24 hours.

Mandatory evacuation orders remain for areas like Christmas Valley, Meyers and North Upper Truckee Road.

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