Toxic Smoke from Caldor Fire Suffocates Lake Tahoe

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Caldor Fire is marching through the Sierra Nevada, and smoke now affects one of Northern California’s most iconic regions. And toxic smoke from Caldor Fire is startling new residents who came here to escape the coronavirus.

In addition, 12% contained toxic wildfire has consumed about 143,900 acres and destroyed 470 homes. Wildfire smoke is so thick and toxic that it has spiked past the highest level on the air quality chart.

“It is hard to breathe out here,” Aaron Hagar said while recording video of the scene around him. “It is funnnnky,” he added, dragging out the first syllable to emphasize.

Hagor is resident in El Dorado County, California, choking poisonous air under toxic smoke-filled sky. So when the Caldor Fire outburst in El Dorado County, Hagar take his camera on Aug 18 to record a view of snow falling from the sky, but it appeared to be a terrible scene of wildfire.

“I mean, they’re big right,” Hagar said while pointing towards ashes scattered everywhere on the ground of El Dorado County. Hagar further added, “I guess the fire is still away from us, but it is just blowing stuff all over us all day, and look at that; that’s all ash.”

The firefighters reported on recent Friday that they are trying their best to keep the fire from spreading in the Lake Tahoe area.

“We’re doing everything we can to ensure that it doesn’t spread,” said Eric Schwab, a Cal Fire operation section chief. “We’re putting in multiple additional control lines that we can fall back on should this rechallenge us.”

Carol Chaplin, head of Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, said that smoke from Dixie and Tamarack wildfire makes Caldor Fire smoke more toxic. She suggested visitors put off their plans of visiting Lake Tahoe for the time being.

“Not only are we not used to having this kind of air quality right now, but we are also not used to having it loom over us for 30 or more days, I think is probably not an exaggeration, So, I’ve never seen it this bad,” she said.

The Washoe County Health District – Air Quality Management Division issued stage 3 Emergency Episode declaring fire dangerous and alarming. The Air Quality Index (AQI) exceeded 200 for 24 hours as the stage 3 level was reached. This dangerous level was never reached before, but it reached this threshold on 23 and 24 August this week.

AQI is scaled from 0 to 500 and is used by officials to measure the concentration of toxins and pollutants in the air. In the entire history so far, officials have never seen the AQI top 200 in Lake Tahoe before the Dixie Fire, but it crossed 200 0n Monday, 23 August, and reached almost 300.

“On the 22nd, we had a 24-hour AQI of 251, on the 23rd, we had a 24-hour AQI of 291, and then yesterday our 24-hour AQI was 260,” Craig Petersen said. “So basically, all three of those days are our top three AQIs that we’ve seen since measuring … since 1999, ” he further added. He is a Senior Air Quality Specialist with the Washoe County Health District, and he reported this to AccuWeather on Wednesday.

To be more precise, it’s the worst air quality Lake Tahoe has ever seen. Caldor Fire can also extend to pollock pines and other nearby areas.

 

 

The reporter of KRNV News reported that South Lake Tahoe had issued an emergency proclamation on Thursday due to wildfire. However, regardless of the emergency proclamation, no evacuation warnings are issued so far.

“We know this fire has done things that nobody could have predicted, but that’s how firefighting has been in the state this year,” said Eldorado National Forest Service supervisor Jeff Marsolais Aug. 17. “I’ve spent the past four weeks in the North State, and every time a fire broke out, it outpaced our models two to one, and we see the same again here.”

On Aug 14, Caldor Fire took place and shortly blew up in size when unexpected winds fueled the fire and 630 plus structures, 11 commercial property, and 170 other minor structures damaged in El Dorado County. Winds are responsible for blowing up the fire and suffocate smoke and are responsible for lethal air quality warnings.

Tahoe Vista is a scenic destination spot on the shore of Lake Tahoe, and an AQI score of 415 was recorded on Tuesday there, reported CBS News. Under the current conditions, evacuation orders could be crucial if the recent warnings are increased.

The Associated Press reported that officials from Nevada State Parks closed a state park beloved for its amazing mountain view and beautiful trails until Friday. In addition, the Washoe County School District called off classes on Monday for its public schools with 67,000 students in the nearby areas.

“If it goes into an evacuation order, there will be a warning for some portion the South Lake Tahoe basin,” Sgt. Eric Palmberg of the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office reported on Tuesday night, according to SFGate.com. “I don’t have the information on where exactly where that will be, but ultimately that will be the trigger,” he further added.

Recently, the California Office of Emergency Services reported that more than 24,000 people are evacuated from El Dorado County so far. And unfortunately, fire is still blowing up, and officials emphasized that there are no chances to lift warnings for the time being.

Fire officials further reported that it would take few weeks before people are allowed back into areas under necessary evacuations. New evacuation orders were issued on the west side of the Caldor Fire in Eldorado County Friday night.

New orders of evacuation:

New orders of evacuation include various areas, and a few of them are mention below.

  • East of Sly Park Road between Highway 50 and Mormon Emigrant Trail to Ice House Road, including Pacific House and Fresh Pond communities.
  • South of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road and includes the Kyburz community.
  • From Twin Bridges east to Echo Summit and pleasant Valley and all roads to the intersection extend south from Newtown Road to E-16 (Mt Aukum Road).
  • All roads and residences are accessed from Moon-Shadow and Gopher Hole Road off Bucks Bar Road.
  • North of Highway 50, east of Forebay Road to Ice House Road.
  • North of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road includes Ice House Reservoir, Union Valley Reservoir, and Loon Lake.

Evacuation warnings are in effect for the following areas:

El Dorado County

  • North of Slab Creek to Wentworth Springs Road between Sand Mountain and Loon Lake.
  • Mosquito Road from the bridge North to include the Community of Swansboro.
  • North of Highway 50 to Slab Creek between Smith Flat and Snows Road.
  • South of Highway 50 to Pleasant Valley between Smith Flat and Snows Road, and North of Pleasant Valley between Holm and Newtown.
  • South of Pleasant Valley between Bucks Bar Road and Newtown Road, East of Bucks Bar Road to Mt Aukum Road.