Crews continue to battle Caldor Fire as flames creep closer to Lake Tahoe

Wildfire Watch

The Latest – Thursday, Aug. 26:

7:20 p.m.

The Caldor Fire grew to 139,510 acres — nearly 218 square miles — and was 12% contained Thursday evening. At least 650 structures have been destroyed, with another 18,347 threatened.

10:11 a.m.

New evacuations were ordered in El Dorado County Thursday morning:

  • From Twin Bridges east to Echo Summit
  • From Highway 50 South to the Amador/Alpine county line
  • From Highway 50 North to Flag Pole Peak

The Highway 50 closure was also extended east to Meyers.

Click or tap here for a map of evacuation orders and warnings.

Original story below:

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL/AP) — Crews continue to focus on stopping Caldor Fire flames from reaching the Lake Tahoe Basin.

The U.S. Forest Service said the fire began 4 miles south of Grizzly Flats and 2 miles east of Omo Ranch in the Eldorado National Forest Saturday, Aug. 14. By Thursday morning, the Caldor Fire was 136,643 acres — over 213 square miles — and 12% contained.

The fire is headed toward Echo Summit, which drops down into the Lake Tahoe Basin.

“Years ago, I would have never thought that we’d be having Tahoe as a threat,” Sacramento Fire Department Captain Keith Wade said. “Over the last couple of years, now we’re starting to realize that anything’s possible.”

The last major blaze in the area took South Lake Tahoe by surprise after blowing up from an illegal campfire in the summer of 2007. The Angora Fire burned less than 5 square miles but destroyed 254 homes, injured three people and forced 2,000 people to flee.

Highway 50 remains closed in both directions from Sly Park Road to Meyers.

The Eldorado National Forest is also closed. Forest Service officials out of the Lake Tahoe Basin said backcountry areas of Desolation Wilderness, Meiss County, Barker Park and McKinney/Rubicon are closed until Sept. 19.

Click or tap here to see the current fire perimeter.

Approximately 24,500 people in El Dorado County are under evacuation orders as of Wednesday morning.

More than 17,480 structures remain threatened, Cal Fire reported. At least 465 homes, 11 commercial properties and 167 minor structures have been destroyed by the fire. Thirty-seven structures have been damaged.

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

Two civilians were severely injured in Grizzly Flats last week.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office is also trying to locate 57-year-old Marvin Hardy Creel, a man who went missing while evacuating from Grizzly Flats. 

“Apparently, when they found his truck, somewhere abandoned, it still had everything in it,” Creel’s nephew, Jim Bradford, told FOX40.

If you have information on Creel’s whereabouts, contact authorities at 530-642-4714.

For online resources and the latest information on evacuation orders, click or tap here.

The Caldor Fire is burning in challenging terrain, making access difficult for crews. 

Firefighting helicopters are working daily, filling up with retardant, a major weapon against the stubborn flames, from a mobile base in Placerville. 

Thursday morning, fire crews reported moderate winds caused a slight reduction in fire behavior Wednesday. Crews said the fire remained active in the northeast.

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

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

Evacuation information can also be found on the social media pages of local law enforcement.

The following locations have been listed as evacuation centers: 

  • Cameron Park Community Center at 2502 Country Club Drive in Cameron Park, CA, in El Dorado County
  • Green Valley Church at 3500 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville, CA, in El Dorado County
  • Amador Fairgrounds at 18621 Sherwood Street in Plymouth, CA, in Amador County [TEMPORARY]
  • Evelyn Bishop Hall at 701 CA 124 in Ione, CA, in Amador County
  • Rolling Hills Church at 800 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills, CA, in El Dorado County
  • Douglas County Community Center at 1329 Waterloo Lane in Gardnerville, NV, in Douglas 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.

El Dorado County is opening a Local Assistance Center Friday to provide county and state services and provide resources and information to residents impacted by the Caldor Fire.

The center is located at the Folsom Lake Community College El Dorado campus. Click or tap here for additional information.

From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., residents can also call the Caldor Fire information line at 530-303-2455.

Following a request from California leaders, President Joe Biden on Tuesday declared that a major disaster exists in California and ordered federal aid made available to local governments, agencies and fire victims in Lassen, Nevada, Placer and Plumas counties.

Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Roseville, sent a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday asking him to add the Caldor Fire to the request list for a major disaster declaration.

The cause of the Caldor Fire remains under investigation.

Click or tap here for additional information.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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