Aug 30, 2021 - Energy & Environment

California's Caldor Fire triggers fresh evacuations near Lake Tahoe

Fire crews watch a section of the Caldor fire after putting in a hand line to stop growth on Aug. 27

Fire crews watch a section of the Caldor Fire after putting in a hand line to stop growth, near the town of Strawberry, California. Photo: Ty O'Neil/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

California's Caldor Fire triggered fresh evacuation orders for communities in Amador County, near Sacramento, as it neared the Lake Tahoe Basin on Sunday night.

Driving the news: Containment of the blaze dropped to 13% as it grew to over 168,000 acres Sunday amid extremely dry conditions. The wildfire razed at least four cabins near Echo Summit on Sunday, the Sacramento Bee notes.

What they're saying: Jeff Marsoleis, forest supervisor for El Dorado National Forest, said firefighters thought they could stop the fire's spread, but "today it let loose," per Associated Press.

  • Cal Fire Division Chief Eric Schwab noted to AP that "we’ve been seeing about a half-mile of movement on the fire’s perimeter each day for the last couple of weeks, and today, this has already moved at 2.5 miles on us, with no sign that it’s starting to slow down."

Threat level: The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for areas including around Lake Tahoe and the Caldor Fire zone, effective from 11am Monday to 11pm PT on Tuesday, with strong southwesterly winds and more triple-digit temperatures expected for the region.

The big picture: The Caldor Fire ignited on Aug. 14 in the Omo Ranch area and has been "steadily pushing eastward toward the basin," the Sacramento Bee reports.

Context: Scientists have tied these extreme weather events to climate change.

  • A sweeping UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report published this month found that the connection between human emissions of greenhouse gases and global warming is "unequivocal."
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