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California fire approaches Lake Tahoe after mass evacuation

Western Wildfires
APTOPIX Western Wildfires
Western Wildfires California
Posted at 12:40 PM, Aug 31, 2021

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (AP) — A huge firefighting force has gathered to defend Lake Tahoe from the raging Caldor Fire.

The flames forced the evacuation of California communities on the south end of the alpine resort and put others across the state line in Nevada on notice to be ready to flee.

The streets of South Lake Tahoe are normally filled with thousands of summer tourists. But they were all but deserted after the rapid growth of the Caldor Fire forced a mass evacuation on Monday and triggered hours of gridlocked traffic.

City officials said a handful of people have refused to leave. But overall, they were pleased with the evacuation.

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With the Caldor Fire approaching, Dawn Svymbersky stands in the middle of Highway 50 as evacuee traffic stands still in South Lake Tahoe, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

The Caldor Fire is churning through and threatening places that have been cherished getaways for generations of Californians and others.

South Lake Tahoe is the center of a vast recreation wonderland that includes family cabins, campgrounds dating back decades, historic homes, and backcountry trailheads that provide an escape from the metropolitan areas only a few hours away.

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Seen in a long camera exposure, the Caldor Fire burns at the Sierra-at-Tahoe ski resort on Monday, Aug. 30, 2021, in Eldorado National Forest, Calif. The main buildings at the ski slope's base survived as the main fire front passed. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

As of Tuesday morning, the Caldor Fire had burned 191,607 acres and was 16% contained. It's been burning for 17 days.

The fire has destroyed 669 structures and damaged at least 40 others.

Nearly 4,000 fire personnel are assigned to the fire.

For the latest updates and detailed information on evacuation orders, click here.