Caldor firefighters prepare for critical fire weather from thunderstorms

A scooper plane picks up water from Lake Tahoe to fight the Caldor Fire. U.S. Forest Service photo

A scooper plane picks up water from Lake Tahoe to fight the Caldor Fire. U.S. Forest Service photo

Crews spent Wednesday widening containment lines in preparation for possible thunderstorms that could bring lightning and gusty winds to the fire area today and Friday.

A red flag warning was issued for the Lake Tahoe Basin and northeast California this morning.

The warning issued by the National Weather Service in Reno takes effect 11 p.m. today through 11 p.m. Friday.

“Thunderstorms will move through the region tonight into Friday morning,” forecasters said in the 10:30 a.m. statement. “Dry lightning strikes and gusty outflow winds are possible. There is potential for wetting rains in some of the stronger showers and thunderstorms.”

Forecasters expect the wind to increase over the ridgelines with gusts in the higher elevations hitting 60 mph. cameras show the main part of the visible fire somewhere west of Echo Summit laid down on the Heavenly Ski Resort camera around 2:30 a.m. Thursday. While there are few locations with visible flames, it is the closest to clear that it’s been in almost two weeks.

Triangulation of three cameras confirms most of the fire is burning on the other side of Echo Summit.

As of 7 a.m. Thursday, the fire was estimated at 217,946 acres, showing an increase of 377 acres over 24 hours. Containment increased to 53 percent.

Hotshots finished the final half-mile of direct handline around Trimmer Peak between the fire and northwestern Alpine County. The fire was also active north of Strawberry Creek where crews will be working to contain it today.

Crews are mopping up the fire near Caples Lake and are building lines toward Kirkwood.

There are still a lot of displaced El Dorado County residents who live along the eastern flank of the fire, including Christmas Valley and Meyers. Alpine County has evacuation orders near the fire up at Kirkwood and along its northwestern line.

Evacuees from the Tahoe Basin are being sheltered at the Reno Sparks Convention Center. A livestock evacuation center is at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Small animals are evacuated to the Douglas County Animal Shelter and East to West Coast Grooming in Gardnerville.


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