Evacuations were expanded in the Tahoe region on Sunday night with the Caldor Fire continuing its dangerous march towards more populated areas. The fire now sits at over 156,000 acres as it moved towards Echo Summit along Highway 50, which is a little more than 7 miles from South Lake Tahoe.
Fire officials expanded evacuation orders from Echo Summit all the way into Meyers, which sits adjacent to South Lake Tahoe. With a forecast of strong winds on Monday, a grim situation is developing in the Sierra.
The National Weather Service issued a Red Flag Warning from Monday morning through Tuesday in the Sierra, which could bring 30 mph winds and stoke both the Caldor and Dixie fires in the region:
While locally breezy southwest winds are expected over the higher elevations today, stronger winds will develop Mon-Tue with critical fire weather conditions. Southwest to west wind gusts of 20 to 35 mph are possible, strongest during the afternoons and evenings. #cawx pic.twitter.com/YVqo4jzdSP— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) August 29, 2021
“I don’t say this lightly, but it’s looking increasingly likely that #CaldorFire will make it into Tahoe Basin sooner rather than later,” wrote climate scientist Daniel Swain on Twitter. “Meyers & Christmas Valley now under mandatory evac orders; an even broader area may well be at risk with tomorrow’s wind event.”
On Sunday night, the fire moved towards Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort, which shared pictures of its parking lot packed with firefighters and equipment ready to defend the millions of dollars in structures and equipment on the premises:
“We are prepared to fight the good fight with fire crews + apparatus on-site,” wrote the ski park on social media. “No fire as of this morning, but as the #caldorfire creeps closer to Sierra, please send your prayers for protection for all fire personnel as they continue the battle to protect your Playground.”
Video online shows the flames approaching the ski resort at a rapid rate:
Fire visible now from the far side of #SierraAtTahoe parking lot, away from slopes. A US Forest Service official told me there aren’t firing operations happening here right now. #Caldorfire pic.twitter.com/onEzaoPtBV— Luke Cleary (@LukeCleary) August 29, 2021
The next 48 hours will be crucial to both save structures and keep the fire from moving into the heavily populated area of South Lake Tahoe.
“Everything is burning different today. We’re seeing movement like we saw about 15 days ago,” Cal Fire operations section chief Eric Schwab said at the Sunday evening briefing. “A couple days ago I really felt like we were turning the corner with it… To put it in perspective, we’ve been seeing less than a half mile of movement on the fire’s perimeter for the last couple weeks each day. Today, this is already moved about two and a half miles with no sign it’s about to slow down.”