Don’t wait for trouble

A paragraph at the bottom of the governor’s Caldor Fire emergency declaration delegated the authority to order evacuations to Douglas County commissioners.

Not long after the 1 p.m. Tuesday meeting where Emergency Manager and East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini said the fire could threaten Kingsbury, commissioners issued their own state of emergency and designated Sheriff Dan Coverley as the official who could mandate evacuations.

Preparations were being made for the historic evacuation of the Tahoe basin in Douglas County through the afternoon, the day after the City of South Lake Tahoe was evacuated ahead of the fire.

Fire officials are concerned the fire will burn along the ridge of the Carson Range, where it appears to have already gained a foothold and then down into Carson Valley.

We saw something on a smaller scale with the Tamarack Fire, which drove across the state line and into the Highway 395 corridor so quickly the firefighters working the blaze couldn’t get ahead of it.

Between Stateline and Foothill, the fire is threatening some of the most valuable property in Douglas County and first responders would like to be able to focus on fighting the fire instead of worrying about whether there are people still in danger from the blaze.

It’s a hard pivot from the ability to defend your own home to letting others do that work, but it’s a necessary one. If anything has shown resilience over the past two weeks, it’s the Caldor Fire which persists in its inexorable march east along Highway 50 and toward Highway 88 near Kirkwood.

We’ve seen a lot of wildfires and the megafires we’ve seen this summer are exhibiting new and increasingly dangerous behavior, according to longtime firefighters.

If you don’t feel safe in your home, whether it be due to the smoke or impending fire, don’t wait until someone tells you to go to start to pack up. It’s OK to hope for the best, but it’s critical to prepare for the worst.


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