Caldor Fire latest: Growth remains slow as South Lake Tahoe welcomes visitors back

Wildfire Watch

Cal Fire: 7 a.m. Caldor Fire Incident Update

The Latest –  Sunday, Sept. 19

9:30 p.m.

The Caldor Fire is now 219,060 acres — about 342 square miles — and is 72% contained, the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement Sunday.

Original story below:

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (AP/KTXL) — More evacuation orders have been downgraded as the Caldor Fire, for a third day, burned no additional acres.

The fire has burned 219,267 acres and is 71% contained, just over one month after sparking in El Dorado County.

City officials in South Lake Tahoe announced Wednesday that the city is back “open for business” after “evacuating more than 20,000 residents in less than five hours on August 30” due to the fire. 

In a release, the city reminded visitors that the return to normalcy will be a slow process and asked that they remain patient as businesses get up and running. 

This has been emotionally draining for weeks over the numerous concerns, but we are resilient, and the countless ways our community has come together to support one another is heartwarming. We have so much to be thankful for with the heroic men and women who saved our lives and community. Tragically our neighbors in Echo Lakes, and along the West Slope weren’t as fortunate with hundreds losing their homes. Perhaps the ultimate takeaway is to realize the fragility of our resources and the vulnerability of the places we love.

Carol Chaplin, President and CEO of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority
219,267Acres Burned
13,682Structures Threatened
1,003 (782 Homes)Structures Destroyed
Sept. 16, 7 a.m. Cal Fire Numbers

Cleanup efforts have begun in the Grizzly Flats area to help communities rebuild after the Caldor Fire wreaked havoc. 

The Department of Toxic Substances Control’s process includes “safely identifying and removing household hazardous waste and bulk asbestos from damaged properties that could pose a risk to people, animals and the environment,” the agency said in a release. 

President Joe Biden took an aerial tour of land charred by the Caldor Fire Monday after getting a briefing from Gov. Gavin Newsom and officials at the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

“These fires are blinking ‘code red’ for our nation. They’re gaining frequency and ferocity,” Biden said after touring the fire that threatened communities around Lake Tahoe. “We know what we have to do.”

Overnight into Thursday, it was hazy across the West Zone of the fire as smoke from other fires drifted north, Cal Fire reported. Crews are working to “mitigate hazard in and around communities and roadways” to help with repopulation efforts.

In the East Zone, overnight weather was “favorable.” Cal Fire said part of their highest priority is holding and maintaining control lines Christmas Valley and Echo Lakes.

Thursday, crews plan to continue containment, working west from Echo Lakes into Desolation Wilderness and moving to Trimmer Peak, Convict Meadows and Margaret Lakes.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture ended its region-wide forest closure Wednesday night, but the Eldorado National Forest and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit closures remain in place.

More than 13,600 structures remain threatened, Cal Fire reported. At least 782 homes, 18 commercial properties and 203 minor structures have been destroyed by the fire. Eighty-one structures have been damaged.

Cal Fire reported their damage inspections are 100% complete after assessing 3,356 structures.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has a map indicating the status of structures. Click here to view.

A command trailer has been set up this week for Grizzly Flats residents who were unable to receive their residential permits to see their property on Sunday or Monday.

El Dorado County officials have also launched a Caldor Fire Recovery page to help those impacted by the fire.

Nearly 2,500 people are under evacuation orders as of Wednesday afternoon, including more than 2,400 people in El Dorado County and 61 in Amador County, according to Cal OES.

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

The Highway 50 closure has been reduced in some areas, but it remains closed from Kyburz to Meyers.

As of Thursday morning, 18 people have been injured in the Caldor Fire, including 16 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 El Dorado County Local Assistance Center at Folsom Lake College has temporarily closed. Residents can click or tap here for more information on recovery services, or email or call 530-621-5101.

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