Sunday, November 28, 2021

California fire approaching Lake Tahoe after mass evacuation

South Lake Tahoe, California-On Tuesday, a fierce wildfire swept across Lake Tahoe. At that time, the entire California resort city of South Lake Tahoe was ordered to evacuate. The community across the Nevada Interstate was warned of cars running away on the road. Clogged for several hours. Ready to leave.

With the large-scale Caldo fire spreading rapidly, this popular resort is usually packed with thousands of summer tourists. Vehicles laden with bicycles, camping gear, and tugboats are stuck in traffic, stagnating in the hazy brown air, and smelling like campfires. Police and other emergency vehicles roared past.

“It’s more out of control than I thought,” evacuate Glen Naasz said of the fire that was blown across California Highways 50 and 89 by strong winds on Monday night and burned down the mountain hut as it moved along The slope swept into the Tahoe Basin.

More firefighters arrived after dark on a weekday, and many firefighters were sent to protect houses in the Christmas Valley area about 10 miles (16 kilometers) from South Lake Tahoe.

Fire spokesperson Dominic Polito said earlier on Tuesday: “A lot of resources are ordered, and they are used for structural protection.”

Last week, heavy smoke regularly prevented aerial firefighting operations. But since then, 23 helicopters and 3 aerial tankers have dumped thousands of gallons of water and flame retardants into the fire, Polito said.

Due to strong gusts, extremely low humidity and extremely dry fuel, the National Weather Service warned that as of Wednesday, there will be severe fire conditions.

Ken Breslin was trapped in traffic less than a mile (1.6 km) from his home in a city with a population of 22,000, and his Ford Escape had only a quarter of the gas tank. His son begged him to leave on Sunday night, but he shrugged, convinced that if an evacuation order is issued, it will be later this week.

“Before, it was,’Don’t worry…it won’t reach the top. It won’t come down from the mountain. There are 3,500 firefighters, all bulldozers and all air support,'” he said. “Until this morning, I didn’t think it had a chance to enter this area. Now, this is very real.”

As the flames spread to South Lake Tahoe, residents on the Nevada interstate line faced evacuation warnings.

Monday’s evacuation order was issued a day after a community a few miles south of the lake was suddenly ordered to evacuate because of the raging fire nearby. Barton Memorial Hospital, the main medical facility in South Lake Tahoe, evacuated dozens of patients. The Eldorado Sheriff’s Office transferred the prisoners to a neighboring prison.

“There was a fire in California that we had never seen before. The key to the public is to evacuate as soon as possible,” said Thom Porter, director of the California Forestry and Fire Department (Cal Fire). “For others in California: In this state, every acre can and one day will burn.”

The fire threat is so widespread that the US Forest Service announced on Monday that all national forests in California will be closed until September 17.

“We will not take the decision lightly, but it is the best choice for public safety,” said regional forest manager Jennifer Eberlien.

California fire officials said that overnight, the already huge Kaldor fire spread 7 miles (11 kilometers) in one area northeast of Highway 50 and more than 8 miles (13 miles) in another area.

Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services, said that more than 15,000 firefighters are fighting dozens of California fires, including firefighters from Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and West Virginia. . Approximately 250 active-duty soldiers are being trained in Washington State to help clear forest debris by hand.

However, due to Hurricane Ida, workers from Louisiana had to return to the state. This is “another major catastrophic event in the country that has had an impact on the resources of the entire United States,” he said.

Porter said there were only two fires in California’s history that burned from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other, both in this month, the Caldo and Dixie fires. Dixie is the second largest wildfire in state history. It is located about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of the Lake Tahoe area fire and covers an area of ​​1,205 square miles (3,121 square kilometers). New evacuation orders and warnings were issued on Monday.

Read Also:  Orange County Fire Department assists in Northern California fire crisis

The Lake Tahoe area is usually a year-round recreational paradise, offering beaches, water sports, hiking, ski resorts and golf courses. South Lake Tahoe is located at the southern end of the lake. Outdoor activities are very lively. There is a casino in the casino bordering Stateline, Nevada.

The city’s weekend population can easily triple. On holiday weekends, such as the upcoming Labor Day weekend, as many as 100,000 people will come here to have fun and sunbathe. But Tamara Wallace, the mayor of South Lake Tahoe City, said people have been told to stay away for a few days due to poor air quality.

She thinks Kaldor’s fire will be farther away. The past fires did not spread rapidly near tourist cities.

“This is just another example of how wild fires have changed over the years,” said Wallace, who collected precious items from her late parents and husband when she was preparing to leave.

The last two wildfires in densely populated areas near Tajo were the Angola fire that destroyed more than 200 houses in 2007 and the gondola fire that ignited near the cable car of the Paradise Mountain Resort in 2002.

Wallace said that since then, dead trees have piled up like mountains, and the area has dealt with a severe drought.

On Monday, the flow of traffic from South Lake Tahoe gradually increased, but Wallace said the evacuation was orderly because residents followed the orders of officials. In recent years, the authorities have issued warnings more aggressively, giving people more time to flee.

Not everyone agrees, because the high winds raised dust and debris, and the drivers were in a deadlock. CHP Assistant Commissioner Ryan Okashima said that the California Highway Patrol has added “a considerable number of additional personnel” to help guide the chaotic evacuation from South Lake Tahoe, as huge traffic jams have slowed the evacuation of vehicles.

South Lake Tahoe resident John Larson said that given the speed at which the fire spreads to the area, the evacuation may be as smooth as possible.

After settling in an evacuation center in a park in Carson, Nevada, Larson said of the fire: “The fuel is consumed so fast, and it climbs the ridge so fast.” In another evacuation. After the center reached its capacity, Red Cross volunteers set up 50 cribs for the facility.

On Sunday, the fire destroyed many houses along Highway 50, one of the main routes to the southern end of the lake. It also roared through the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort, demolished some buildings, but kept the main base building. Workers use snow machines to water the ground.

The cabin was burned down near the unincorporated community of Echo Lake, where Tom Fashinell and his wife have been running Echo Chalet since 1984. This summer-only resort offers cabin rental services, but it was ordered to close early this season due to wildfires.

Facinel said he has been watching the local TV news. “We are observing whether this building can survive,” he said.

Since its outbreak on August 14, the Kaldor Fire has burned nearly 292 square miles (756 square kilometers). After violent burning over the weekend, the containment rate dropped from 19% to 15%.

More than 600 buildings were destroyed, and at least 20,000 buildings were threatened. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak declared a state of emergency in the state on Monday, on the grounds that California might burn the interstate line.

Diane Kinney, who has lived in South Lake Tahoe since the 1970s, said this is the first time her community has received an evacuation order. Soon after noon, she and her husband packed souvenirs, jewelry and insurance policies. They left their 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle.

“It’s definitely good to be with these beautiful pine trees in the mountains,” she said. “But we must go out now.”

Author: Sam Metz and Jenny Hall

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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