CAL FIRE explains why Caldor Fire is moving so fast, sometimes jumping a mile at a time

J.R. Stone Image
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
CAL FIRE explains why Caldor Fire can jump a mile at a time
CAL FIRE explains why Caldor Fire is moving so fast, with flames often jumping a mile at a time.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Caldor fire fight in full swing as firefighters are doing what they can to protect homes.

"The winds are not our friends when we're trying to fight fire," says CAL FIRE's Keith Wade.

WILDFIRE TRACKER: Interactive map shows where wildfires are burning in CA

And those winds coupled with the Red Flag Warning, has created what they call an "active crown fire run," where embers jump from one tree top to the next.

"Those ember casts that it throws out are going over a mile in distance, so that is what is propagating the spread of the fire right now, the long range downwind spotting of that ember cast," says Stephen Vollmer of Cal Fire.

VIDEO: Crews show frontline battle against Caldor Fire's giant flames

With inside views from Meyers to Christmas Valley to Echo Summit, firefighters on the frontlines show us exactly what they're up against.

Firefighters are trying to prevent those embers and the flames from getting any closer to South Lake Tahoe -- An area that looked desolate on Tuesday, where a coyote could be seen wandering the streets.

Kirkwood is also a major area of concern, where crews were busy cutting down brush and at last check, had confirmed the fire had yet to go south of Highway 88 towards the Kirkwood Resort.

"It's very tough emotionally, my wife is a wreck right now, and I don't blame her," says evacuee Rick Wright, who already had to leave his home in South Lake Tahoe. Tuesday he was again told to leave, this time at the evacuation center, as more evacuation orders went into effect in Douglas County, Nevada.

"They want us to go to Reno? No, I'll just pull off to the side of the highway. I understand they gotta do things but this make no sense," says evacuee Debbie Rosina.

TAKE ACTION: How to help Tahoe communities

CAL FIRE says that these flames haven't been seen in this part of the Sierra, not just for a few years, but for more than 80 years.

Some though, are doing what they can to remain optimistic.

"We're Californians and we're pretty tough so we ain't gonna worry about it, it happens," says South Lake Tahoe evacuee Anthony Lopez.

We mapped out the fire's location Tuesday night in comparison to where Highway 50 meets Highway 88 in South Lake Tahoe. It's called the "Y" by some. It appears to be around four miles from there and seven miles from Stateline.