EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (AP/KTXL) — Highway 50 will reopen for residents Monday and the public Tuesday as crews make progress on containing the Caldor Fire.
Dozens of evacuees were allowed to return home after Caltrans reopened Highway 50 for people who live between the Kyburz and Meyers communities.
Gary and Joan Hawkins came home to destruction on Monday. Their Sayles Canyon Tract cabin of more than 50 years was reduced to rubble and ash.
“To see it in person and to touch things makes it real. Touch all of the old stuff makes it real,” Joan Hawkins said, crying.
But even through the loss, the couple managed to find a few positives. For starters, they found family heirlooms that survived the flames.
“This was a sign that my father-in-law built the cabin in 1964,” Gary Hawkins pointed out.
And then, as the couple was picking up the debris, Joan Hawkins spotted a young deer.
“We haven’t seen wildlife like this for so long,” she said.
Highway 50 is scheduled to fully reopen to the general public Tuesday at 8 a.m.
The fire has burned 219,101 acres and is 75% contained, after sparking in El Dorado County on Aug. 14.
A Red Flag Warning is in effect for much of Northern California through 11 a.m. Tuesday due to windy conditions and low relative humidity.
|1,003 (782 Homes, 18 Commercial, 203 Minor Structures)||Structures Destroyed|
The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has a map indicating the status of structures. Click here to view.
Sunday, crews improved containment lines from Scout Peak west to Mormon Emigrant Trail, U.S. Forest Service officials reported. Firefighters also searched for hot spots within the fire perimeter.
Crews plan to tie existing handlines into natural terrain features and construct new containment lines. Accessibility remains a challenge.
A map with current evacuation information can be found by clicking or tapping here.
The Eldorado National Forest closure remains in place until Sept. 30, and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit closures remain in place through Dec. 31.
As of Thursday morning, 18 people have been injured in the Caldor Fire, including 16 firefighters, Cal Fire reported.
The cause of the Caldor Fire remains under investigation.
El Dorado County officials have also launched a Caldor Fire Recovery page to help those impacted by the fire.
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:
- El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office – Facebook
- Amador County Sheriff’s Office – Facebook
- Alpine County – Government Website