The 22,000 residents of South Lake Tahoe were issued with a new warning after the Caldor Fire encroached onto the Tahoe Basin on Sunday. The red-flag warning from South Lake Tahoe has helped take the total number of Californians issued with an evacuation order to more than 41,000.
While California often has to introduce mandatory evacuation orders, the last time one was imposed on residents in South Lake Tahoe was in 2007.
The announcement came on Sunday night after local firefighters struggled to hold back the two-week blaze.
Just as tourists looked set to enjoy their Labor Day weekend, a thick set of smoke sent would-be holidaymakers packing.
City spokesperson Lindsey Baker told CNN: “At this time, we are prepared should an evacuation become necessary, but the firefighters on the front lines are doing incredible work to secure the perimeter of the fire and our hope is that they are able to prevent the fire from encroaching any further into the Tahoe Basin.”
Yesterday, California’s Fire Department published details about the number of people who have been evacuated.
Across the whole of the Golden State, America’s largest state, over 32,000 residents have been evacuated.
Jeff Marsoleis, forest supervisor at El Dorado National Forest, said: “Today’s been a rough day and there’s no bones about it.”
Eric Schwad, California’s Fire Division Chief, added: “To put it in perspective, we’ve been seeing a half-mile movement on the fire’s perimeter each day for the last couple of weeks, and today, this has already moved at 2.5miles on us, with no sign that it’s starting to slow.”
Around 472 homes have been destroyed and over 21,000 structures threatened.
It is also believed around 700 people are seeking shelter in 16 facilities across the Golden State.