South Lake Tahoe Evacuated

There were traffic jams throughout most of South Lake Tahoe Monday afternoon as the city is evacuated ahead of the Caldor Fire. 20,000 people live in South Lake Tahoe.

There will be a red flag warning for gusting winds that are expected to last until 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Highways 50, 88 and 89 all closed below the Tahoe Basin, people are being funneled out of town toward the Nevada state line. Anyone wishing to head toward Sacramento or the Bay Area cannot do it directly via Highway 50; they must drive north to connect up with I-80 near Truckee.

Nextbigfuture has been covering the California Wildfire problems for many years. Reports indicate that PGE caused the larger Dixie fire near Redding.

In 2018, Nextbigfuture talked about the need to massively scale up controlled burns to clear the over one hundred million dead trees.

4 thoughts on “South Lake Tahoe Evacuated”

  1. They apparently blew a lot of money to keep the fire from going over the ridge but still failed. That was a lot, but not huge or unlimited resource used to stop the fire. Which is a thing to consider in the face of increased fire activity due to increasing extreme weather. Time to call out the national guard more to fight fires?

    Though firecrews usually are augmented by prisoners, but due to COVID-19, most of the prisoner crews have been unavailable (health measures preventing usual assist due to prison confinement, or health measures leading to the prisoners being released from prison early/temporarily and thus not participating). It isn't clear if having the prison crews present would have been enough anyways, due to the raw scale of many fires though.

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  2. I was in the National Sequoia Forest (part of the Sierras) for a few days, earlier this month, and it was fantastic. Of course, the rangers have been doing controlled burns there since the 1950s. The big trees need the fires to open their seed cones and to clear away the underbrush and smaller trees so their seeds will find space to grow. They are also so big, and have such thick punky bark, that they are almost immune to smaller fires. As an added benefit, the ground is pretty clear most places.

    It really is a shame no one has been doing that in the rest of the Sierras. Eglin AFB in the Florida Panhandle is nearly the size of Rhode Island, and tended to have a controlled burn going somewhere, just about every day of the year, making it a wildlife paradise. The Crocodile Hunter filmed there at least twice.

    I recall that the upper 3/4 of Eastern Lake Tahoe were part of the Ponderosa ranch on Bonanza. From the look of the map with this article, perhaps the Cartwrights were practicing smart land management?

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  3. Coincidentally (and only so), the wife and I were up in Tahoe this weekend.  Last evening around midnight, I was pretty sleepless … and we had originally planned to leave Tahoe maybe at 6 or 7 AM, just to get back to the Bay Area without having to face the worst of commute traffic.  

    But I was awake. And it was QUITE smokey in the basin.  Unhealthy. So, I said, "Dear, why don't we pack up, go to the almost-all-night Vietnamese Pho house, have a midnight snack, and head out now?"

    She agreed.

    At 2 AM, we were entering onto Interstate highway 80. Up thru the mountains, to Donner Pass, and over 'the hill'. NO TRAFFIC at all. Either direction.  

    By the sounds of it, apparently the evacuation mandate hadn't hit.  LUCKY US!

    By the looks of the video, we might not have gotten out of there until tomorrow!

    Whew… a bullet dodged. 

    Anyway, the air quality was profoundly bad. Hardly could see 20 car lengths ahead for some parts of the journey. Gave me a whole lot of time to think, “why aren't we managing the undergrowth of the Sierras better?”

    Which really is the point, isn't it?

    ⋅-⋅-⋅ Just saying, ⋅-⋅-⋅
    ⋅-=≡ GoatGuy ✓ ≡=-⋅

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