September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Caldor Fire latest: Crews prepare for increased winds, possible thunderstorms

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Thursday, Sept. 9:

8:30 p.m.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office says the repopulation of Grizzly Flats will begin on Sunday. Officials say personnel will stagger the number of residents allowed in but expect the process to be done by Monday night.

7:00 p.m.

The Caldor Fire is 218,405 acres — nearly 341 square miles — in size and was 53% contained Thursday evening, Cal Fire said in a statement.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Friday, with wind gusts of up to 40-60 mph and thunderstorms expected.

1:55 p.m.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office says evacuation orders have been downgraded to warnings for all residents who live north of the traffic circle at Highway 50 and Highway 89 in Meyers. Click or tap here for more information.

10:40 p.m.

A Red Flag Warning has been issued for Thursday at 5 p.m. through Friday at 11 p.m., the National Weather Service said. The warning applies to the majority of Northern California, including the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys.

Original story below:

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (AP/KTXL) — In the Sierra near Lake Tahoe, the nearly 218K-acre Caldor Fire is 53% contained as crews prepare for increased southwest winds and possible thunderstorms, Cal Fire reported.

Firefighters have had enough success against the state’s 15th-largest fire that residents of the city of South Lake Tahoe were allowed to return home last weekend. 

The state energy grid operator called for voluntary conservation of electricity from 4-9 p.m. Wednesday because of expected high demand for air conditioning. The alert ended without any major power outages reported but the conservation request was extended to 4-9 p.m. Thursday.

217,946Acres Burned
24,647Structures Threatened
998 (778 Homes)Structures Destroyed
Sept. 9, 7 a.m. Cal Fire Numbers

A fire weather watch was issued for Thursday evening through Friday evening in much of the interior of Northern California due to a weather system that is expected to bring a chance of thunderstorms with lightning and erratic gusts.

South Lake Tahoe Fire Chief Clive Savacool told FOX40 Wednesday his main concern was the weather. 

“We have some potential for some thunderstorms coming in, and if its dry lightning, the fire – all bets are off,” he said.

More than 24,600 structures remain threatened, Cal Fire reported. At least 778 homes, 18 commercial properties and 202 minor structures have been destroyed by the fire. Eighty structures have been damaged.

Numbers reflected may change as crews make progress through the area, but Cal Fire said damage inspections are 99% complete.

The community of Grizzly Flats, near where the fire started, experienced the most damage as it was able to burn before officials could divert significant resources from other blazes scorching California.

Officials are updating a map indicating the status of structures. Click here to view.

Nearly 10,300 people are under evacuation orders as of Wednesday afternoon, including more than 10,100 people in El Dorado County, 61 in Amador County and 100 in Alpine County. 

A map with current evacuation information can be found by clicking or tapping here

The Highway 50 closure has been reduced in some areas after more than two and a half weeks.

Caltrans said Wednesday their team has started assessing the damage the fire has caused and identifying trouble areas along Highway 50 and Highway 89 that need to be addressed before they are reopened.

“Unfortunately, we’ve gone through this before through the Camp Fire and some other fires, so we got the experience on how to tackle this,” explained Caltrans public information officer Gilbert Mohtes-Chan.

The four large casino hotels in Stateline, Nevada, began reopening Tuesday including the Hard Rock Lake Tahoe, which is still being used as a command center for firefighters and emergency personnel. The Montbleu Resort, Casino and Spa resumed operations Wednesday.

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe owner Caesars Entertainment Inc. said a phased reopening would include guest bookings on Wednesday and table games on Thursday. The company’s Harveys Lake Tahoe casino is due to reopen for slots and table games on Sept. 17 and to hotel guests Sept. 18.

Eleven people have been injured in the Caldor Fire, including nine firefighters, Cal Fire reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Residents can sign up for their county’s emergency alert system for evacuation information using the links below:

Evacuation information can also be found at the social media pages and sites below:

The following locations have been listed as evacuation centers: 

  • Rolling Hills Church at 800 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills, CA, in El Dorado County
  • Reno-Sparks Convention Center at 4590 South Virginia Street in Reno, NV, in Washoe County

Families who need assistance sheltering small animals can contact the El Dorado County Animal Services at 530-621-5795. Families with large animals can contact the Amador County Fairgrounds at 530-621-5795 or 530-647-6227.

The El Dorado County Local Assistance Center at Folsom Lake College has temporarily closed. Residents can email or call 530-621-5101 for questions and assistance with county services.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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