It seems the gates of hell of opened upon California, home many dense forests and mountains. There are 90 fires within the state as of September. Climate change and dry weather for several years has made the drought extreme and the forests tinder dry.
There is literally an army of firefighters, some 15,200 and growing, battling the satan-like fires within the state that in some cases have acted in very unusual manners- like, creating weather of its own within the fire zone. In the case of the South Lake Tahoe fire that began from lightening on August 14, the army national guard has been called up to help the firefighters man the line. Like the big fires in Southern California that have closed Interstate highways that remain uncontained, it is the Northern California fires that wreak havoc on the forests. One of the largest ever is the Dixie fire that is 1200 squire miles. This is 65 miles north of the Lake Tahoe Basin. This fire destroyed 700 homes and 1300 other buildings. This fire is still uncontained and despite the use of C-130's to dump thousands of tons of water and chemicals, the fire continues to spread.
The Battle for South Lake Tahoe
At the rate that the Caldor fire is growing in very mountainous terrain covered with dense forests, it will equal the Dixie fire. Currently, the fire has scorched over 277 square miles and 800 homes destroyed. The current direction is for the town of South Lake Tahoe (22,000), and evacuation orders have been issued. The fire is about 10 miles away in spots. It is now a ghost town. Summer vacationers have fled the pristine area (with a lake some 17 miles long). The evac order has caused mayhem because the fire has closed Hwy 50 from the south end of the lake at times. This leaves only Interstate 80 from the north end of the lake. Even the local hospital was forced to evacuate. The fire has been spread from the crazy winds being whipped up and carrying embers to diverse areas. One famed ski resort, Sierra at Tahoe, located on the west side of the lake, has been lit up. Despite the efforts of the thousands of firefighters and C-130's dumping water, the fire and wind have proved unstoppable. Much of this area is very mountainous with dense forests, perfect for fire spread and making it impossible for firefighters to reach. The air quality index in the basin area is at unhealthy or worse levels requiring one to wear a mask.
California's fire season has usually begun in July or August and is worst in September and October. Due to climate change and the drought since 2018, it now begins in April or May, after the last rains. No rain will usually come until November, at soonest.
For those who have never been there, the region is visited from people across the globe. It is a recreation wonder in the summer and winter with numerous ski resorts and boat activities. The water is so clear and pure from the snow runoff from mountains that ring the pristine lake. It could be compared to the Alps in Switzerland, especially in the winter when snow caps the peaks. It is or this reason, there is a battle for the lake.
The situation remains dire due to weather and wind and terrain. While the town of South Lake Tahoe might be saved, will much else?