WEB EXCLUSIVE | The Caldor Fire prompted all of South Lake Tahoe to evacuate Monday as the wildfire continues to burn, breaching Echo Summit, covering more than 199,000 acres and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses.
“The situation in Tahoe right now is so heartbreaking to witness,” senior Brit Paulson said. “It is one of my favorite places to vacation with friends and family and to see it under so much distress really makes me so much more grateful for the natural resources it provides.”
The Caldor Fire, which is 18 percent contained, has been active for 17 days and destroyed 675 structures and damaged more than 40 others, according to CalFire. The fire has already injured five people and over 3500 firefighters are working to contain the flames.
“I know many people in the Convent and Stuart Hall community visit Tahoe often for a weekend getaway during the summer or during ski week and it has been sad seeing second homes going up in flames,” senior Eliza Spaht said. “This situation really just emphasizes how important safety and fire preparedness is.”
These evacuations anticipate the upcoming Labor Day weekend, a time when Tahoe is usually filled with tourists eager to explore the outdoors through the area’s many hiking trails, outdoor activities and campgrounds.
The U.S. Forest service announced Monday that all national forests in California would be closed until Sept. 17. The announcement draws out a closure that was already in place for the Forest Service’s nine national forests in Northern California.
“I have family staying on the north side of Tahoe right now and the air quality is so poor that they can’t even see just feet in front of them,” Paulson said. “I have a lot of hope for Tahoe and I’m grateful for all those working hard to contain the fires.”