The Caldor fire approached the town of South Lake Tahoe. Thousands of people in panic had to leave their homes. “California’s fire activity is something we’ve never seen before,” firefighters say.
The entire city of South Lake Tahoe on Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California was evacuated on Monday when a Caldor fire began to engulf the area. The evacuation order also includes a 24-kilometer-wide strip on the west shore of the lake, the Associated Press reported.
Fires in the USA
The main hospital in South Lake Tahoe’s population of approximately 22,000 has already evacuated 36 vulnerable patients and 16 intensive care patients on Sunday.
Already on Friday, the smoke from the fire forced the evacuation of some residents and tourists around Lake Tahoe.
The evacuations in and around the city of South Lake Tahoe came after the US Forest Service said it would shut down all 18 national forests in California due to a fire on Wednesday. The closure is expected to last 17 days.
The Caldor fire started on August 14, more than 112 kilometers southwest of Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border. On Monday, the fire was only 14 percent under control, and nearly 90 fires raged across the entire western United States.
The Pentagon said Saturday it has deployed 200 Washington State troops and eight C-130 planes from the US National Guard and US Air Force reserve to aid firefighters in northern California.
Earlier this summer’s smoke affected hundreds of thousands of people living by Lake Tahoe. It closed schools, restaurants, shops and ravaged hotels.
“The fire activity in California is like we’ve never seen before,” Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter said during Monday’s briefing.
Caldor has already absorbed 472 private or business buildings and partially destroyed 39 more, covering 71.7 thousand hectares.
Main photo source: PAP / EPA / CHRISTIAN MONTERROSA