Caldor Fire creeps closer to a now-evacuated South Lake Tahoe

Wildfire Watch

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) — The Caldor Fire is creeping closer to South Lake Tahoe, with the fire about five miles south of the airport. 

Flames could be seen on a steep slope just east of Christmas Valley. The ongoing situation reinforces the need for evacuation orders in South Lake Tahoe. 

At first, there was gridlock for the thousands of residents and visitors trying to get out. One evacuee turned to music to help ease people’s fear. 

“I guess we should’ve left yesterday, but we decided to leave today,” said Mel Smothers. “So, we loaded up everything — the violin and dog. Came out here and thought we’d sit with everybody else.”

By the afternoon, traffic congestion eased up and an eerie calm settled over the streets that are normally teeming with tourists a week before Labor Day. 

An evacuation of this scale is unprecedented for South Lake Tahoe. To the first responders tasked with keeping the community safe, evacuations were always a possibility. 

“All of the preparation we went over the last week and a half, it made us very comfortable and confident knowing that we had the sheriff’s department and the incident management team in Placerville supporting us when we were ready to pull that trigger,” said South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Clive Savacool.

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