Saturday, September 25, 2021

Lake Tahoe evacuees hope to return home as the wildfire slows

South Lake Tahoe, California – Officials said on Saturday that firefighters are making progress on the California wildfires threatening South Lake Tahoe, which has given tens of thousands of residents waiting to return to their resort towns high hopes.

Lighter wind and higher humidity continued to reduce the spread of flames, and firefighters quickly used double burning and cut off the line of fire around the Kaldor fire.

Bulldozers with huge blades, crews with shovels, and a fleet of planes dropped hundreds of thousands of gallons of water and flame retardants to help spread the fire to thousands of acres-a small part of the explosion spread last month. The smallest increase is within two weeks.

Tim Burton, the director of operations for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told firefighters at a briefing on Saturday: “This incident is getting better and better every day.” “Much of it is due to your hard work. Work and weather cooperation last week or so.”

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Close but don’t move forward

The northeastern part of the huge Sierra Nevada is still less than a few miles from the boundary between South Lake Tahoe and Nevada, but fire officials say it has not made any significant progress for several days, nor has it challenged the long length of the containment line. .

On Friday afternoon, as more than a third of the 866 square kilometers (334 square miles) fire was surrounded, the authorities allowed more people to return to their homes on the west and north sides of the fire.

However, there is no timetable to allow 22,000 South Lake Tahoe residents and others in Douglas County, Nevada, who evacuated a few days ago, to return to the interstate. The authorities make this decision every day.

“It’s all based on fire behavior,” said Jack Kagle, the chief of fire operations. “For now, things look good….We are getting closer.”

File-September 3, 2021, trees smoldered by Kaldor fire in the El Dorado National Forest, California.

On busy weekends, the resort can easily accommodate 100,000 people, but before the holiday weekend, it is empty except for the occasional stray bears.

Wildfires have dealt a major blow to an economy that relies heavily on tourism, and this summer began to rebound from the pandemic shutdown.

The interim mayor of South Lake Tahoe, Devin Middlebrook, said: “This is a huge blow to our local businesses and the workers who rely on stable income to pay rent and dinner tables.”

He said the closure would also harm the city because most of its revenue comes from hotel tax and sales tax, which are used to pay for police and fire services and road maintenance.

Firefighters still have a lot of work to do on grasslands, forest stands and granite outcrops. Although the overall weather has improved, local winds may still be unstable when they hit the ridges and deep canyons in the area.

Nearly 900 buildings were destroyed

The fire started on August 14 and is named after the roads that it started and raged in dense forests and rugged areas-nearly 900 houses, businesses and other buildings have been destroyed. It is still considered a threat to more than 30,000 structures.

This year’s wildfires destroyed at least 1,500 houses and destroyed several mountain villages. The Dixie Fire burned about 105 kilometers (65 miles) north of the Caldo Fire. It was the second largest wildfire in the state’s history, covering an area of ​​approximately 3,585 square kilometers (1,385 square miles), and 55% of the fires were controlled.

In recent years, as climate change has made the western region warmer and drier in the past 30 years, California has experienced larger and more deadly wildfires. Scientists say that the weather will continue to become more extreme and wildfires will become more frequent, more destructive and unpredictable. So far, no deaths have been reported this fire season.


Lake Tahoe evacuees hope to return home as the wildfire slows
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