A raging Northern California fire has prompted even more evacuation orders as the massive, fast-spreading blaze threatened the mountain towns around the pristine Lake Tahoe.
All residents near the Lake Tahoe Basin were ordered to evacuate late Sunday after officials, who had believed they could contain it, warned that the two-week-old Caldor Fire had “let loose.”
“To put it in perspective, 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,” said Cal Fire Division Chief Erich Schwab.
Parts of the area are so rugged that fire crews have had to carry hoses by hand from the highway to put out spot fires.
The Caldor Fire broke out Aug. 14 and is only 19 percent contained after destroying more than 600 structures and putting at least 18,000 under threat.
The blaze has already burned 245 square miles, an area larger than the city of Chicago.
Triple-digit temperatures that are expected to last several days have fire officials concerned.
The additional evacuation orders issued Sunday included parts of Alpine and El Dorado counties.
Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe evacuated all of its patients over the weekend as the fire approached.
More than 15,200 firefighters in California are battling a dozen large fires.
In the state’s south, evacuation orders were put in place after a fire tore through Cleveland National Forest on Saturday and saw at least one firefighter injured.
The Dixie Fire, California’s second-largest in history, was 48 percent contained as of Sunday.
That fire is burning in the Sierra-Cascades region, about 65 miles north of the Caldor Fire.
The Department of Defense is deploying 200 US soldiers to help firefighters in Northern California.
They are sending eight converted military planes that can dump thousands of gallons of water on the wildfires.
With Post wires