EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Over 21,000 people got on the road on Monday to evacuate from South Lake Tahoe, which is now a ghost town as the Caldor Fire grows.
KRON4’s Sara Stinson is reporting Tuesday by the Meyers Inspection Station on Highway 50, where at 5 a.m. a red haziness and flames can be seen in the dense terrain, burning towards South Lake Tahoe.
The evacuation resulted in bumper-to-bumper traffic, and although it was chaotic at times, police say it was a good sight to see people actually listening to the evacuation order, initiated around 10 a.m. on Monday.
Once people got out – fire crews could focus more on preventing the flames from swallowing more homes, cabins, businesses and ski resorts.
The flames haven’t yet come down into South Lake Tahoe. So far, the Caldor Fire has burned 191,607 acres and is just 16% contained. It grew by just over 5,000 acres overnight.
The fire was active overnight throughout the northeastern and eastern areas of the fire due to poor humidity recovery, Cal Fire said on Tuesday. Crown fire runs and ember casting remained active covering distances of up to three quarters of a mile.
Nearly 34,000 structures are threatened. There is still a Red Flag Warning in effect for the Northern Sierra through 11 p.m. on Sept. 1.
The winds have not been helping crews get a handle on this fire because embers from tree tops travel sometimes as far as a mile sparking new flames.
Cal Fire says the Caldor Fire hopped Highway 89. On Monday night, fire officials said the flames in Meyers had not burned any structures yet, but they were very concerned the wind could push the fire further down.
Fire is burning in the Christmas Valley area as well. KRON4 is waiting to get an update from Cal Fire about the fire activity from overnight.
Cal Fire and the forest service are using retardant and air support in addition to crews on the ground who are hiking into the steep and dense terrain to battle the fire.
There are dozens and dozens of evacuations in three counties, including El Dorado, Amador and Alpine.
A lot of people in the Bay Area are anxiously waiting to hear the fate of their family vacation homes.