Containment date for Caldor Fire extended to Sept. 8

The reader board at the base of Kingsbury Grade summed it up on Friday afternoon.

The reader board at the base of Kingsbury Grade summed it up on Friday afternoon.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

The reader board at the base of Kingsbury Grade summed it all up on Friday.

“Travel to Lake Tahoe is not advised,” it said as the containment date for the Caldor Fire was been set back to Sept. 8.

The Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority encouraged visitors to postpone any immediate travel plans due to the fire.

“Our thoughts and gratitude go out to all the firefighters and first responders working tirelessly to keep our communities safe,” Authority CEO and president Carol Chaplin said. “And our hearts and hospitality go out to the people who’ve lost their homes. The current priority is the health and safety for our community and assisting firefighting efforts.”

The authority informed South Lake Tahoe officials that local hotels have seen cancellations.

Many of the people staying at Tahoe hotels are evacuees from the Highway 50 corridor and public safety officials involved in managing the fight against the Caldor Fire.

“Tourists who still plan to come to the Tahoe Basin need to understand that the air quality levels are extremely unhealthy, many of the beaches around the Lake are closed and some businesses have temporarily closed,” said City of South Lake Tahoe Public Information Officer Lindsey Baker.

The closure of Highway 50 was extended to the Meyers Junction with Highway 89 on Thursday with evacuations extended to Echo Summit.

Zephyr Cove Resort, typically a hotbed of activity in the summer, is closed along with the rest of U.S. Forest Service lessees in the Tahoe Basin due to extreme wildfire danger.

Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park, which includes Sand Harbor, Spooner Lake and backcountry, Cave Rock and Van Sickle Bi-State Park above Stateline were closed Monday.

Boat inspections for the Lake Tahoe Invasive Species Program are closed until further notice due to the fire.

The northeast flank of the fire burning up Highway 50 toward Twin Bridges burned actively through the night, with crown fires common.

Critical fuel conditions, steep and rugged terrain still present a challenge to firefighters.

The fire is the top of the list on the National Interagency Coordination Center Incident Management Situation Report, which showed the fire grew another 13,000 acres in 24 hours.

More than 3,000 firefighters are working the blaze, including 79 hand crews, 244 engines and 21 helicopters.

According to the situation report 650 structures have been lost. The cost of fighting the fire has reached $43.7 million.

While only a fifth of the size of the Dixie Fire burning 90 miles northwest, the Caldor fire’s growth was nearly twice that of its big brother.

Resources are shifting south to fight the Caldor Fire as the Dixie Fire starts to slow down.

A red flag warning is in effect through 11 a.m. today in the Sierra West Slope foothills for critical fire danger.

The smoke closed Douglas County schools on Friday with hazardous air quality in Minden, according to a sensor reading 656 at 5 a.m., well above the 500 threshold where Carson Valley schools close. Even the sensor in the Ranchos was running 389 at dawn and was trending higher.

The smoke was so bad in Minden that it was setting off a resident’s smoke detectors, prompting a visit from East Fork firefighters. While the smoke detectors were deemed faulty, the smoke could well have contributed.

Between the fire and the smoke, Friday’s concert in Minden Park was canceled as were Andy’s Ride for Suicide Awareness and the concert Shoe Tree had planned for today.

There’s a possibility Carson Valley will see some relief from the smoke early this morning, but that will depend on the winds.


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