news and events » news

News Header

News Item

return to News

Caldor Fire prompts first evacuation orders on California side of Lake Tahoe

by Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle |

As the Caldor Fire in eastern California continued to move east toward Tahoe Thursday morning, evacuation orders were extended to Echo Summit and the first warnings were made inside the basin.

Mandatory evacuation orders were issued for the area between Twin Bridges and Echo Summit, which sits at 7,377 feet at the edge of the Tahoe Basin and is the highest point on U.S. Highway 50. The closure of Highway 50 has been extended to the Highway 89 junction in Meyers, which sits at the base of the steep incline to the summit.

With mandatory evacuations extending to Echo Summit, officials have issued warnings to prepare to evacuate to Christmas Valley at the foot of the steep road to the summit from Highway 89 west to Echo Summit. Warnings have also been issued to areas from Highway 89 west to Watershed Ridge and south to the Amador-El Dorado county line.

Dave Lauchner, a Cal Fire spokesman, said the evacuation extensions and warnings were being made to ensure the safety of people in the area and that firefighters still expect to keep the flames out of the Tahoe Basin.

“Our goal is to make sure we keep the entire community safe,” he said. “We just need to make sure anyone in the forest or in their homes still gets out of the area. But we still foresee getting this topped before the basin.”

The evacuation route was eastward along Highway 50 toward South Lake Tahoe. An evacuation center is open at the Douglas County Community Center in Gardnerville, Nev.

At a community meeting Tuesday, sheriff’s officials said there were relatively few people in the area between Twin Bridges and Echo Summit and that they’d all been personally contacted and said they were ready to leave.