Full Evacuation Order Creates Traffic Nightmare in South Lake Tahoe

A mandatory evacuation order was announced for South Lake Tahoe Monday morning, sending hoards of cars trying to escape the Caldor Fire into the limited roads open for evacuation.

The most recent evacuation order called for mandatory evacuations for the entirety of South Lake Tahoe, including Heavenly, Ski Run and Pioneer all the way to Stateline. While many of the city’s 20,000 residents had already left, the limited routes out of town left cars stranded on two-lanes for hours trying to reach the evacuation point. Currently, Highway 50, Highway 88 and Highway 89 all remain closed due to the fire.

Reports have some drivers sitting in the same place for up to 45 minutes at a time as all the traffic moves in the same direction – east of town. Police are going from house to house announcing the evacuation order, which was upgraded from a warning in much of the area around 11 am.

Traffic webcams show an endless line of traffic leaving the area near Ski Run Blvd:

“This is something that we did expect which is why we started the evacuation phase the way we did,” said South Lake Tahoe Police Lt. Travis Cabral. He went on to explain that they can’t yet open more lanes to evacuees and stresses patience during the emergency situation.

“Rest assured, we do have a contigency plan if we need to get people out of here as quick as possible,” he said.

Heat mapping shows the Caldor Fire moving down Echo Summit into the areas of Meyers, currently sitting around Lower Echo Lake:

Here are the current evacuation orders as of early Monday afternoon:

Evacuation orders:

El Dorado County

  • Areas south of Farnham Ridge Road and east of Bridgeport School Road to the Amador County line.
  • Grizzly Flat: The areas on Grizzly Flats Road east of Kendra Way into Grizzly
  • Flats Proper. The areas of Diamond Railroad Grade, Old School House, Sweeney Road, Caldor Road, and Steely Ridge.
  • Grizzly Flats Road east of four corners in Somerset into Grizzly Flats Proper.
  • The areas of Myers Lane, Varmet Ridge Road, Rodwell Canyon Road, Snowbird Lane, and Mehwald Lane.
  • East of Sly Park Road between Highway 50 and Mormon Emigrant Trail to Ice House Road. This includes the communities of Pacific House and Fresh Pond.
  • North of Highway 50, east of Forebay Road to Ice House Road.
  • Intersection of Perry Creek and Hawk Haven, the East side of Fairplay Road from Perry Creek South to Cedarville Road. This includes Slug Gulch, Omo Ranch, and all roads off of Slug Gulch and Omo Ranch.
  • All roads off of Omo Ranch from Cedarville Road to Hwy 88.
  • The area between Highway 88 and Mormon Emigrant Trail
  • South of Highway 50 from Snows Road to Ice House Road.
  • Between Highway 50 and Slab Creek from Snows Road to Ice House Road.
  • South of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road. This includes the community of Kyburz.
  • North of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road to include Ice House Reservoir, Union Valley Reservoir, and Loon Lake.
  • Silver Fork Road in Kyburz east to Twin Bridges.
  • North and south in a line extending from Twin Bridges to the Placer County line and south to the Amador County line.
  • New Aug. 26: From Twin Bridges east to Echo Summit
  • New Aug. 26: From Highway 50 south to the Amador/Alpine County line
  • New Aug. 26: From Highway 50 north to Flag Pole Peak
  • New Aug. 27: Pleasant Valley Road and all intersecting roads extending south from Newtown Road to the intersection of E-16 (Mt Aukum Road).
  • New Aug. 27: All roads accessed from E-16 (Mt Aukum Road) between Pleasant Valley Road and Bucks Bar Road. 
  • New Aug. 27: This includes all roads and residences accessed from Moon-Shadow and Gopher Hole Road off Bucks Bar Road.
  • New Aug. 29: Christmas Valley from Highway 89 west to Echo Summit
  • New Aug. 29: Highway 89 due west to Watershed Ridge/Echo Summit and south to the Amador/El Dorado County line.
  • New Aug. 29: The area from Luther Pass Road, north along the El Dorado/Alpine County line to Armstrong Pass. West from Armstrong Pass to Upper Apache at Meyers. West on Upper Apache to Highway 50. West on Highway 50 to Highway 89.  South on Highway 89 to the El Dorado/Alpine County line. This includes all homes on both sides of Highway 89.
  • New Aug. 29: The area from Upper Apache at Meyers, north along Highway 50, to Elks Club Drive.  East on Elks Club Drive to Pioneer Trail, extending due south to Upper Apache at Meyers.  (This includes all homes off of Oneidas, Mandan, Apache, Ottawa and Player).
  • New Aug. 29: The area North on Highway 50 from Highway 89 to Saw Mill Road. West on Saw Mill Road to Angora Ridge, extending to the Echo Summit.
  • New Aug. 29: ​​Desolation Wilderness from the watershed ridge to the CA ENF/CA TMU wilderness boundary.
  • New Aug. 29: ​​From the El Dorado/Placer county line to Echo Lakes. 
  • New Aug. 30: Tahoma • The section from Emerald Bay north to the Placer county line in Tahoma, extending west to the border of Desolation Wilderness. 
  • New Aug. 30: Fallen Leaf • The area from Sawmill Road at Lake Tahoe Blvd. extending north to Pope Beach. Along the water’s edge to Eagle Point. From Eagle Point west, to Desolation Wilderness, across Emerald Bay. 
  • New Aug. 30: Pioneer • This is the area North of Elks Club along Highway 50 and the West side of Pioneer Trail, also including the streets of Hekpa, excluding the residences west of the airport, this segment includes all residences accessed from Jicarilla, Washoan, and Glen Eagles. This also includes the Golden Bear neighborhood, and the neighborhoods of Cold Creek Trail, High Meadows, and Marshall Trail. 
  • New Aug. 30: Gardner Mountain • Northwest of the South Lake Tahoe Airport and west of the Highway 50 / Lake Tahoe Blvd and Highway 89 intersection to include the South Lake Tahoe High School, Tahoe Verde and the streets accessed from 5th through 15th street south of Highway 89 
  • New Aug. 30: Trimmer • The area East of Pioneer Trail to the Alpine County Line stopping South of Heavenly Ski Resort, excluding all residence off of Pioneer Trail.
  • New Aug. 30: Tahoe Keys • All residences with the Tahoe Keys community and all residents accessed from the streets connected to Tahoe Keys Blvd, staying east of 3rd Street. 
  • New Aug. 30: Tahoe Island • East of Highway 50/ Highway 89 at the at the Lake Tahoe Blvd and Highway 89 Highway 50 intersection. This includes the area of Barton Hospital and the area of Winnemucca to the “Y”. Also north of Highway 50 west of Tahoe Keys Blvd following along the north side of Highway 89 through the end of town prior to Pope Beach. 
  • New Aug. 30: Al Tahoe • All residences off of Lakeview which is west of Highway 50 North of Blue Lakes Road and east of Tahoe Keys Neighborhood. 
  • New Aug. 30: Sierra Tract • All residences on both sides of Highway 50 for the streets connected to O’Malley, Lodi, Silver Dollar and Rubicon Trail. 
  • New Aug. 30: Bijou • The residences between Al Tahoe on the east side of Johnson Blvd to include the streets of Treehaven and Fremont and extending to the east in to all residences west of Ski Run and east of Pioneer Trail.
  • New Aug. 30: Heavenly • East of Pioneer Trail between Larch and Al Tahoe, to include the area of Heavenly Ski Resort out to the Alpine County Line and the Nevada State line on the East. 
  • New Aug. 30: Stateline • East of Ski run on the lake side of Pioneer Trail and also both sides of Pioneer Trail between Larch and the Nevada State line.

Alpine County

  • New Aug. 29: Highway 89 South from Luther Pass Road to Pickets Junction (Highway 88)
  • New Aug. 29: West on Highway 88 to Kirkwood. South to include Kirkwood Ski Resort and Caples Lake.

Amador County

  • South of Highway 88 along the Amador/El Dorado County line from Dufrene Road, due east to the Amador/Alpine County line and from the Amador/Alpine County line north to Hwy 88.

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