December 3, 2021

Caldor Fire: South Lake Tahoe ‘a ghost town’ as residents, tourists brace to evacuate

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (KGO) — Air high quality round South Lake Tahoe is deteriorating as the Caldor Hearth is transferring nearer – leaving residents and tourists bracing to evacuate.

The hearth has scorched 152,545 acres and threatened 18,347 properties in El Dorado County as of Saturday evening. CAL FIRE instructed ABC7 471 properties have been destroyed. The hearth is just 19% contained.

“We’re working as hard as we can,” mentioned CAL FIRE’s Jay Smith. “Our crews are working 24-hour shifts back to back to get the upper hand on this.”

The flames are burning roughly 12 miles south of South Lake Tahoe – the mountain resort city normally bustling with tourists this time of yr.

“It’s just like a ghost town,” mentioned Jim Pilgrim, a vacationer visiting from Oklahoma. “Sadly there’s nothing open but the casino.”

Town’s essential strip abandoned as companies are closed up, parking heaps empty, and the golf course desolate.

“I feel sorry for the people that own businesses that don’t get any money,” mentioned Pilgrim. “They’re the ones that are hurting.”

The air high quality index or AQI in South Lake Tahoe went from 150 to 300 inside a couple of hours as smoke pummeled into the town.

“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it by far,” mentioned Jim McCall, who’s lived in South Lake for 32 years. “One of the days the sky turned black in the afternoon…it looked like something out of Wizard of Oz…like really scary stuff.”

CAL FIRE is predicted to battle the warmth together with dry and windy situations over the subsequent few days.

“With the wind…you can tell how strong it’s getting,” mentioned Smith. “The fire activity will increase, but we are hopeful it won’t be as aggressive.”