September 24 2021 03:30 pm

Caldor Fire: South Lake Tahoe resident who chose not to evacuate describes the scene

Wildfire Watch

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KRON) — A South Lake Tahoe resident explained why he didn’t evacuate and what he’s seeing on the ground while the Caldor Fire burns.

Kevin Cooper said he, his wife and dog are hunkered down at their home, which is in the 2007 Angora Fire burn scar.

“I didn’t want to leave my house this time. We do have an exit plan,” Cooper told FOX40 sister station KRON.

He described his location as only about 1.7 miles from where KRON4’s Sara Stinson was reporting Tuesday off Highway 50 in Meyers.

“We’re in kind of a shadow behind what’s called Flag Pole Peak, between Echo Lake and Flag Pole Peak,” Cooper explained. “The fire has to go around Echo, jump it and then climb Granite [Lake] to really get into where I am right here. Fortunately, the fire is burning straight across the way from here.”

He said Kirkwood Mountain Resort is right in harm’s way with the Caldor Fire right behind Martin Point.

Cooper said the fire’s path is nothing he would have ever predicted.

“One fire starting at Olmo Ranch Road, and now threatening the Lake Tahoe Basin, threatening Kirkwood Mountain Resort, burning over Sierra at Tahoe,” he said.

Cal Fire said Tuesday that the Caldor Fire has now burned 191,607 acres and is just 2 miles from South Lake Tahoe.

Cooper said mountain resorts are utilizing their snowmaking capabilities to help control the flames. That saved China Peak Mountain Resort down in Lakeshore a couple of years back.

Now, Cooper believes the Kirkwood Utilities Department and the local fire department plan to start up the snowmaking system.

Heavenly, which has the largest snowmaking system on the West Coast, is also in the crosshairs of the Caldor Fire, Cooper added.

“I’m sure their mountain manager is going to be firing up that system as well, but for now, winds are calm,” Cooper said. “But we know they’re going to pick up today, it is a Red Flag Warning. We have all the assets from the state of California to the federal government fighting this fire, but it’s a beast and it’s a challenge right now.”

The Red Flag Warning is set through 11 p.m. Wednesday, and it could be extended if fire weather persists.

On Monday, Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said the Caldor and Dixie fires are creating fire activity the state has never seen before, with both wildfires crossing into the Sierra Nevada.

On Aug. 17, when the Caldor Fire was just at 6,500 acres, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency for El Dorado County.

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