Three New Wildfires Break Out in California as Crews Gain Upper Hand on Caldor Blaze Threatening Lake Tahoe
Due to improved weather conditions, fire workers were able to gain control of the Caldor Fire in northern California this weekend, but three other flames broke out in other parts of the state.
The Aruba Fire broke out in San Diego County, to the southeast of Rainbow, a tiny town. By Monday, firefighters had restricted the vegetation fire to 30% of its original size, and residents’ evacuation orders had been rescinded.
The Bridge Fire, located north of Sacramento, has burnt 300 acres and is just 5% contained, according to the state agency Cal Fire, with some sections under mandatory evacuation. The Lawrence Fire, which started on Sunday and has burned over 46 acres to the east of the city, is now 60% contained.
As tens of thousands of people forced to escape the Lake Tahoe area began to come home, fresh fires erupted. Officials announced that the Caldor Fire, which had been threatening the popular resort region, had been brought under control.
The Caldor has burned over 216,000 acres and destroyed 920 houses in El Dorado and Amador counties, making it the 15th biggest wildfire in California history. The fire has been burning for three weeks and is now only 44% contained.
This summer’s Caldor and Dixie Fires have the dubious distinction of being the first two fires in California history to burn from one side to the other of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
On Sunday, evacuation orders were decreased and barriers were withdrawn in the city of South Lake Tahoe and other lakefront areas. Residents were cautioned, however, that the dangers of smoke-polluted air and wildlife that had taken safety in towns remained.
“The delicate balance between humans and bears has been upset,” El Dorado County sheriff’s Sgt Simon Brown told the AP and said police should be notified if bears have entered homes.
In California, more than 14,500 firefighters are battling 14 large wildfires and four long-burning blazes. More than 2 million acres have burnt across the state since the beginning of 2021.
Due to gusty winds and low humidity, a Fire Weather Watch has been issued for the county of Modoc, which borders Nevada. This week, the likelihood of lightning, a significant driver of wildfires, is also higher.
“The potential for large fire will remain elevated away from the coastal areas through next weekend as hot and very dry conditions continue,” Cal Fire reported.
Wildfires have raged all over the world this summer, from California to Crete, the outskirts of Rome, and the Siberian tundra.