Caldor fire: More than 4,200 firefighters deployed as blaze comes to standstill near Lake Tahoe

·2-min read

The Caldor Fire in California has destroyed at least 700 homes and forced at least 50,000 people to flee the popular tourist town of Lake Tahoe.

FIre crews have been battling to save the town from being wiped off the map by the fire, which has already torched more than 200,000 acres.

Since at least Monday, fire crews have been patrolling the empty streets of Lake Tahoe neighbourhoods to ensure that embers drifting in from the Caldor wildfire do not ignite structures. With most of the city's population gone and unable to respond to fires, the crews are left not only monitoring the blaze, but also monitoring the city.

According to The New York Times, firefighters have cleared an area of forest about eight miles south of the lake's shores. They hope that the break will stop the fire from encroaching further on Lake Tahoe and the town situated around the lake. Thankfully, firefighters say the blaze’s move toward the resort town has stopped, at least for the time being.

As of Thursday morning, the blaze has been 23 per cent contained.

Fire crews feared that strong winds on Wednesday night might fuel the fire and encourage its advancement toward Lake Tahoe. Thankfully those conditions did not prevail and the resort town was spared.

“I think it can breathe a sigh of relief,” Dave Lauchner, a spokesman for Cal Fire Team 6, told CNN. “But you don't want to assume you're completely out of the woods yet. It's still a long firefight ahead of us. There's a lot of things this fire can still do.”

Lake Tahoe has generally escaped the threat from larger fires because it is surrounded by mountains. The solid granite insulation is often enough to keep the flames at bay, but the Caldor fire pushed past the stone on its way toward the lake.

The fire is also pushing east, forcing evacuation orders in Douglas County, Nevada. The creeping blaze prompted one of the iconic Stateline casinos – the MontBleu – to close on Wednesday afternoon. In a statement explaining the decision, the casino said it would reopen as soon as it was safe to do so.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has also shut down the casino floors of the other Stateline casinos due to the fire.

At its current size, the Caldor fire is now the 15th largest in California's state history. More than 4,200 firefighters have been assigned to combat the blaze.

Despite the fire's continued spread, there is good news for some affected residents.

On Wednesday, Cal Fire downgraded evacuation orders to warnings for some residential areas facing less of a threat from the fire.

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