Caldor Fire prompts evacuation orders around California’s Lake Tahoe region

The Caldor Fire raging in Northern California has prompted evacuation orders and warnings in the Lake Tahoe Basin on Sunday night after conditions resulted in rapid spread.

The patients at Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe were all evacuated.

“Patients will be transferred to regional partner facilities & patients’ families will be notified,” the hospital tweeted on Sunday night. “Barton’s Emergency Department remains open for emergent health needs only.”

At least five people were injured in the blaze that destroyed more than 650 structures and damaged nearly 40 more since it began August 14, Cal Fire said.

An evacuation order had been issued for some parts of Alpine and El Dorado counties, along with evacuation warnings for other parts of the counties, Cal Fire said in a news release.

The warning signifies that there is “a potential threat to life and/or property” was expanded for additional parts of the basin, Cal Fire said in an alert.

“Those who require additional time to evacuate and those with pets and livestock should leave now,” the alert warned.

The city of South Lake Tahoe asked residents to be prepared for the possibility of evacuations.

“The most important thing people can do now is get their go-bags ready and have a plan in place to evacuate should an evacuation order get extended,” city spokeswoman Lindsey Baker told reporters.

This week conditions are expected to get worse, Clive Savacool, fire chief for the city of South Lake Tahoe told local television KTVN.

“The Caldor Fire has made a pretty big jump in the last few hours, so that’s had a pretty big impact on the community and expansion of evacuations,” Savacool explained.

“It’s because these winds, the low humidity, the low moisture, all these conditions are making it very, very treacherous for this fire and so that’s why its been expanding so rapidly.”

With an extreme drought and several active wildfires burning during the middle of the state’s fire season, firefighters have had to pace themselves and outside resources have been called in.

The Caldor Fire has grown to 177,260 acres and is 14% contained, Cal Fire said Monday, as the fire continued to “actively burn”.

The largest active wildfire in the state, the Dixie Fire, has grown to more than 765,635 acres since igniting in mid-July, according to Cal Fire.