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California Wildfires. (Photo: youtube)

30,000 Evacuated As Caldor Fire Approaches South Lake Tahoe

With South Lake Tahoe completely evacuated, recall election in El Dorado Count disrupted

By Evan Symon, August 30, 2021 9:20 pm

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced the mandatory evacuation of 30,000 El Dorado County residents and tourists on Monday, including the entire 22,000 person city of South Lake Tahoe, due to the rapid encroachment of the Caldor Fire.

The Caldor Fire began on August 14th in central El Dorado County, which remains under investigation. After a few days of remaining relatively small, high winds caused the wildfire to pick up and spread Eastward throughout the county. Evacuations of some towns began on the 17th, with Governor Gavin Newsom ordering a state of emergency in the county later that day. While the town of Grizzly Flats was initially damaged with around 650 buildings destroyed and two residents injured, the fires throughout the rest of the month remained lower profile than other fires due to the remote location.

However, the Caldor Fire once again threatened urban areas during the weekend following high winds causing containment to  fall from 19% to 14%. As the wildfire began turning toward the resort area of South Lake Tahoe, evacuation orders were finally given on Monday.

According to CAL FIRE, the evacuation route out is along Highway 50 into Nevada due to the proximity of fires to the roads on the West side of the area. Evacuation shelters are also being set up in Truckee and in Gardnerville, Nevada.

The sudden removal of 30,000 people, as well as the possible ensuing fire damage, is expected to hurt the area, as well as the state, economically and politically.

The Caldor Fire and the economy, election

Both the Nevada and California sides of Lake Tahoe were severely hurt by the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions last year. Many resort areas this spring and summer were expecting tourism to help the area recover from last year and help normalize the economy of the region once again. Early figures have shown record tax income from the area and full hotels, signaling a strong recovery. However, the evacuation caused by the Caldor Fire in South Lake Tahoe, and possibly across state lines into Nevada should it remain un-contained, is once again dealing a blow to the tourist-heavy economy of the area.

Highway 50 traffic backup from the Caldor Fire (Photo: ABC Youtube video)

“If it’s not one thing it’s another,” Janice Parker, a rental service employee now facing evacuation, told the Globe Monday. “We’re being pushed out now. It’s just a line of cars going straight out to the border. My rental company barely made it last year, and we were sold out all the time this year. Two extremes. When my boss saw the fire coming and then heard the evacuation order, all he said was “Of course it is. Why give us a break now?”. This is all so surreal.”

Politically, the evacuation of such a large part of GOP-leaning El Dorado County could cause some voting to be disrupted due to the wildfires, While only roughly 5,000- 10,000 registered voters are now displaced due to the evacuation, a race that is within a few percentage points like the recall election could feel the sting if in-person voting isn’t set up in time for residents or if mail-in ballots are not adequately given.

“It’s not the biggest concern, the biggest is saving human lives of course,” explained Charles Montoya, a phone bank monitor who has been coordinating a call and text drive to inform people to vote in Eastern California, to the Globe on Monday. “But this is a democracy, and, regardless of whom you vote for, you deserve a say. So if this evacuation possibly stops some people, that needs to be dealt with. Again, doesn’t matter whichever side they vote for. It’s the principle of it.”

CAL FIRE officials have yet to give a time frame on containment of the Caldor Fire. Evacuations of the area are expected to continue into Monday night.

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16 thoughts on “30,000 Evacuated As Caldor Fire Approaches South Lake Tahoe

  1. This is HORRIFIC. And you can blame Gov Gruesome for it. He is responsible. He lied about cleaning up the forests, which didn’t happen as he said. He let PG&E off the hook because of their huge campaign contributions to him (and his wife). Gavin Newsom is responsible for the fear and misery and helplessness of the people who live where it has become a hell on earth. Gavin Newsom is responsible for all that we are witnessing here. We MUST recall him from office so we can begin to recover from this never-ending stream of crises.

    1. @Showandtell, while I agree that the fire, the destruction, the evacuations are all horrific,… I can’t believe the Governor is responsible for the drought, for climate change or for remediating over 100 years of forest management policy that’s been set primarily by USFS and USDA.

      The bottom line is that you don’t like Newsom. It really has nothing to do with the fire, but you can’t seem to think of anything but how unhappy you are with the way California’s voters vote. Isn’t it time to deal with reality?

      1. I stand by what I said, the evidence is there, readily available, all about the corruption, never mind neglect, of this governor. I think I’ll let readers decide what the REALITY of this situation is and where the responsibility for it lies.

        1. Thank you showandtell. I found that informative but not shocking! I do know what he promised last year for forestry management which did not occur! So no Raymond, Newsom isn’t responsible for arson or a drought but he certainly is responsible for the lack of mangement, poor decisions, and we all know the rest he has done or NOT DONE!

          1. Stacy, you forgot to mention that Newsom has certain personality and upbringing traits that you and ShowandTell don’t happen to like. That’s fine. You can find a lot of people on this forum who despise Newsom as a person. A lot of people make their decisions about others based on personality, culture, family background or social class. That’s what many people did by ascribing certain traits to Donald Trump and they voted that way. There are dog people and cat people. Personally, I hold nothing more against stray cats than I do against stray dogs.

          2. Raymond, not at all sure what your point is. Whether any of us like Newsom or dislike him or spice up our language in a comment has NOTHING to do with the objective facts, some of which I have posted here and have been written about elsewhere and on this website, that show why California has gone into a crash-and-burn nosedive, most notably in the last two-and-a-half years. Sorry, but the arrow points straight at the governor.

  2. Newsom should be held accountable for his corruption, mismanagement and incompetent “leadership”. He is not responsible for causing droughts, lightning and arson fires, or pandemics. Every western state is experiencing a drought and the Wuhan virus. Let’s keep things in perspective.

    1. Yes, Raymond, I agree it is difficult for many of us to keep things in perspective when all Californians have been living under the oppressive reign of a governor who has seen fit to issue diktats and keep unnecessary emergency powers for 18 MONTHS in order to issue dozens of executive orders that have suspended indefinitely the civil liberties of the citizenry.

      1. “Raymond, not at all sure what your point is. Whether any of us like Newsom or dislike him or spice up our language in a comment has NOTHING to do with the objective facts…”

        My point, ShowandTell, is that your “objective facts” can come across as “subjective feelings” because you dislike Newsom and “spice up your language.”

        1. Raymond, not sure how or why you have subjective ideas about how I feel personally about Newsom. One thing you are wrong about in your judgment about me is, I don’t have one feeling about his “upbringing traits.” Never have I commented about his upbringing, nor do I care. I do care about his personality traits and his mismanagement of the affairs in California. How dare you insinuate that I base my decisions on “family background, culture, or social class.” That is far from the truth. I have a lot of respect for many of your posts and enjoy your perspective but you are way out of line. You really are off base and should keep personal attacks out of your posts! Let’s make one thing clear, I do not give one shit about Newsom’s culture, family upbringing, or social class! Matter of fact, I enjoy the French Laundry and stray animals!

  3. ‘Governor Newsom, Geoengineering and Unprecedented Wildfires” geoengineeringwatch.org
    “California Drought: How To Party on The Titanic”

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