On Sunday, August 29th, the Caldor Fire, which had been burning just southwest of Lake Tahoe, broached the Tahoe Basin, causing evacuation orders in many areas in South Lake (by 11am, Monday the entire town of South Lake was under mandatory evacuation). It was the first time in 14 years that the Basin has had a fire evacuation. Images from Sierra-at-Tahoe’s webcams were terrifying, bright orange and filled with smoke, pockets of flames visible on the trails.
Sunday, as flames surged toward Sierra, the resort blasted snowguns to protect structures and grounds, creating a mist that helped to shield the lodge. Fire crews worked through the night, ultimately saving the resort from the relentless blaze. This morning, the main front of the fire had passed, leaving charred patches and damaged trees, but the resort had survived.
High temperatures and strong winds are forecasted in the Tahoe region for the next few days, and a Red Flag Warning–the highest level of wildfire danger (hot, dry, and high winds)–is set to begin at 2pm PST Monday afternoon, going until 11pm Tuesday night. Mid-morning on Monday, half of the West Shore was put under mandatory evacuation orders.
All around the lake, smoke continues to choke the air, driving communities indoors and shutting down businesses that rely on outdoor tourism, especially with Labor Day coming up. The Tahoe community is incredibly resilient, but this is undoubtedly terrifying, as the Caldor Fire–as of Monday morning–is only 14% contained and has destroyed over 470 buildings, according to CalFire.
For current evacuation orders check the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) website, as well as @CalFireAEU on Instagram and @CalFireAEU and Twitter, and here via the US Forest Service. Huge thanks and support go out to the fire crews, forest service, and everyone working round the clock to control the fire, as well as everyone in Tahoe and the surrounding areas affected by this.
Looking for ways to help the Tahoe community? Here are a few ideas:
- The El Dorado Community Foundation has set up a Caldor Fire Fund and all donations will go directly to those affected by the fire. Donate here.
- The American Red Cross of Northern California currently has three shelters set up for evacuees. Two are filled already. For anyone who would like to help, the Red Cross asks for monetary donations instead of dropping off supplies in person, as staff are busy taking care of evacuees at the shelters. Donate here.
- The El Dorado County Animal Shelter has taken in many animals, dropped off temporarily by owners who had to evacuate. El Dorado County shared a post on Twitter explaining how to donate funds and supplies to take care of all of the animals. Check it out here. By donating money at this link to the El Dorado Community Fund, you can select the cause you would like to donate to. In this case, choose “Caldor Fire Animal Relief”.
- The Hands 4 Hope Non-Profit has a variety of ways to donate money, goods, and services to those affected by the fire. Check out their website for more info.