SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KTXL) — With Labor Day weekend around the corner, the streets of South Lake Tahoe would normally be bustling with thousands of vacationers.
But not on Tuesday night, the Caldor Fire is closing in on the south shore.
“This fire has proven to us that we need to expect the unexpected as it’s moving,” said Capt. Keith Wade, a Caldor Fire spokesperson. “It can definitely make it to the shoreline. Our efforts are trying to build those containment lines and stop it. It’s a battle and we’re here to fight it.”
Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for the 22,000 people who call South Lake Tahoe home. But despite business being paused, the fight to save property is ramping up.
Heavenly Ski Resort is firing off water cannons to keep their slopes and lifts wet enough to not burn in case southwest winds push the fire in their direction.
“This fire is still very active and threatening life and threatening property and threatening environment,” Wade said. “Two weeks in-plus, and there’s really no end in sight at this point.”
Flames from the Caldor Fire are just four miles away and wind speeds are expected to pick up. Fire officials say not even Heavenly Ski Resort — a Tahoe treasure — is safe.
“The fire has proven to us that it’s very active and it’s going to do what it wants. You throw wind to it with treacherous terrain, it presents challenges that are kind of unexpected,” Wade said. “Firefighters are in for a fight.”
If the fire does get there, officials say it would present a real challenge given the topography: hills and lack of accessibility.
Experts, however, say that based on the latest heat maps it is within range and in perfect alignment with the current wind directions.