(SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif.) — The Caldor Fire continues to rage in Northern California as it now encroaches on the popular resort town of South Lake Tahoe.
For over two weeks, the Caldor Fire has swept across 199,632 acres and is only 18% contained, according to Cal Fire.
Portions of Amador, El Dorado, Alpine and Douglas counties are now under evacuation orders. Nearly 60,000 people total are under evacuation orders.
“The erratic winds, terrain, weather … I’m seeing stuff I never thought would happen,” Cal Fire spokesperson Dave Lauchner told ABC News Tuesday. “Hand crews can only do so much when you have 100-foot flames coming at you.”
Lauchner said there’s a chance that downtown South Lake Tahoe could be lost to the growing flames.
“I can’t tell you it’s not going to happen, but we are doing everything we can to prevent it from happening,” he said.
Due to the thick smoke from the Caldor Fire, the air quality in the Lake Tahoe area is nearly 40 times what the World Health Organization deems unhealthy, according to data from IQAir.
As of Tuesday afternoon, over 700 structures have been damaged or destroyed and at least three first responders and two civilians have been injured, according to the state.
The fire is threatening more than 34,000 structures in its current path.
The Caldor Fire is already the 17th-largest fire in California history.
Meanwhile, the Dixie Fire, the second-largest in state history, continues to burn in Lassen County, in the northeast portion of California. It has burned an area the size of Rhode Island — 807,396 acres — and is now 48% contained. Nearly 1,400 structures have been destroyed or damaged, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Statewide, over 15,000 firefighters are currently battling a total of 15 large wildfires. In total, 1.83 million acres have been burned in 2021, according to the state.
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