Having burnt nearly 123,000 acres and only 11 per cent contained, “the number one priority in the nation for fires to get additional and new resources that are coming available,” Chief Thom Porter, Cal Fire director, said at a news conference. “It is that important.”
Starting on 14 August, the Caldor fire swept through Grizzly Flats days later, decimating homes, churches and businesses. The fire destroyed over 600 buildings, the majority of which were homes. It’s also closed major highways and nine national forests.
The small town is located east of Sacramento, California, in El Dorado County and has forced over 24,000 people to evacuate from the area.
With the Caldor fire creeping east, the fire’s smoke has already turned Lake Tahoe’s blue skies into an orange glow and has polluted the cities air quality. Reaching hazardous levels, IQAir, a company that monitors air quality, recommends avoiding outdoor exercise.
Even though the fire’s smoke has already affected Lake Tahoe, Tim Ernst, operations sections chief for the Cal Fire incident management team, said they’re trying to contain the fire from spreading to the area.
Lake Tahoe officials said visitors are cancelling vacations because of the air quality and potential fire risk.
So far, there are no evacuation orders for Lake Tahoe residents.
On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom requested that the president declare a major disaster for eight counties in California – 43,000 Californians are on evacuation orders because of wildfires.
The Caldor fire is one of 14 active blazes in California, according to Cal Fire.
On Monday, a Cal Fire spokesman said in this year alone, wildfires have burned 1.5 million acres, which is up 42 per cent from last year.
The climate crisis is causing hotter temperatures and droughts in California, which make fire seasons longer and more severe.