Firefighters on Caldor Fire concentrating on dozers and firing operations

It has burned more than 136,000 acres 12 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe

7:51 a.m. PDT August 26, 2021

Map of the Caldor Fire 1223 a.m. August 26, 2021
Map of the Caldor Fire. The pink line was the perimeter mapped by a fixed wing aircraft at 12:23 a.m. PDT August 26, 2021. The blue line was the perimeter 50 hours earlier. The pink shaded areas had extreme heat during the mapping flight.

The northeast side of the 136,000-acre Caldor Fire 12 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe was active Wednesday night. The fire added about 10,000 acres over the last 24 hours. The spot fire north of Highway 50 has continued to spread east, growing to approximately 2,600 acres. The photo below was taken in that area.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Caldor Fire, including the most recent, click HERE.

Caldor Fire, Wrights Lake Rd
Caldor Fire, Wrights Lake Road north of Hwy. 50, Aug. 25, 2021. CAL FIRE photo.

The weather forecast for Thursday predicts 7 to 8 mph winds out of the southwest and northwest with relative humidity in the teens. Friday will be about the same but with lower humidity. These conditions will allow the fire to keep spreading.

Resources assigned as of Wednesday evening included 243 fire engines, 27 water tenders, 21 helicopters, 80 hand crews, and 51 dozers for a total of 2,897 personnel.

Caldor Fire Google 3-D lookin northeast at 1255 p.m. PDT August 25, 2021 copy
3-D map of the northeast end of the Caldor Fire looking northeast. The red line was the perimeter at 10:07 p.m. PDT August 24, 2021.

Firefighters on the 126,000-acre Caldor Fire are hoping to slow the spread with extensive use of dozers. They are constructing firelines out ahead from which they plan to ignite backfires or other burning operations. This will remove the available fuel so that when the fire reaches those barriers it will stop, at least at those locations.

The fire is still about 14 miles southwest of Lake Tahoe.

On the map below produced by the Incident Management Team the “xxxxxx”  indicates dozer lines completed at the end of the day August 24. Crews are working on extending these lines and tying in the various segments. Air tankers are slowing the spread on the northeast side in Division J to give the dozers time to complete the lines.

Caldor Fire map
Map of the Caldor Fire, by the Incident Management Team for day shift August 25, 2021.

On Wednesday the fire primarily spread to the northeast along Highway 50 toward Twin Bridges. Firing operations continued on the southwest side but were slowed by numerous small spot fires that were quickly extinguished. The north side of the fire is backing downhill to the north toward Highway 50 achieving results not unlike a well-planned prescribed fire.

The spot fire across Highway 50 has grown to about 2,000 acres and spotted to the east across Wrights Lake Road.

The weather conditions recorded at Barney Ridge were moderate in the afternoon with 5 to 8 mph winds gusting at 12 to 16 mph out of the southwest while the relative humidity was around 20 percent. The forecast for Thursday is for 8 to 11 mph winds out of the west with humidity in the mid-teens.

The fire has destroyed 465 residences and 178 other structures. The El Dorado County Sheriff in collaboration with CAL FIRE has released a map displaying properties that have been inspected for any damage or that have been destroyed by the Caldor Fire.

Map of the Caldor Fire
Map of the Caldor Fire. The red line was the perimeter at 10:07 p.m. PDT August 24, 2021. The red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 12:55 p.m. PDT August 25, 2021.

Two Super Scooper air tankers were used late in the day Wednesday. They were scooping water from Lower Bear River Reservoir and dropping it northwest of Plasse. While skimming across the surface of a lake they can scoop up to 1,600 gallons and then drop it on a fire.

Due to extreme fire conditions and “strained firefighter resources throughout the country” the US Forest Service has enacted a temporary closure of nine National Forests in California: Tahoe, Plumas, Lassen, Mendocino, Klamath, Six Rivers, Shasta-Trinity, Modoc, and Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.

A new fire, the Airola Fire, started late in the day Wednesday 34 miles south of the Caldor Fire between Angels Camp and Sonora. By 7 p.m. it had burned approximately 1,000 acres near the intersection of Parrots Ferry and Airola Roads. Smoke from the fire was photographed by a satellite.

Satellite photo Caldor Fire Dixie Airola
GOES-17 satellite photo at 5:26 p.m PDT August 25, 2021.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

12 thoughts on “Firefighters on Caldor Fire concentrating on dozers and firing operations”

  1. Any updates on Cody Lake? There’s a BSA camp that’s been continuously active since 1937. There’s 3 permanent structures on the north side of the lake. Any information will be appreciated.


    1. Mike B – On the map from this morning it looks like the fire perimeter was within a mile of Cody Lake and that BSA Camp and there is a dozer line in place right there. Here is a link to that map showing the situation then:

      Hopefully they are holding that line, but the wind has been steadily blowing the fire to the northeast toward the lake/camp. And for days the spot fires have been spreading the fire perimeter.

      Doesn’t look too good for Cody Lake and camp…


  2. Can CA get authorization to cloud seed in front of these fires make it rain and to help get these fires extinguished? These hardworking firefighters need some help from nature!!

    1. Unfortunately, no showers or rain in forecast for at least 10 days out. However, wind may pickup this Sunday.

      1. I heard that the Desert Research Institute in Reno may have some information about cloud seeding and other weather modification strategies that could possibly assist. I gave also heard that the state of Colorado uses this method for snow and water every year. Maybe CA could partner with this state for help. Thank you and have a good day. Please see link at top.

        Thank You

    1. The West Coast is in a all out Fire Battle, along with handling Cova-19 in each rest area!! Stay smart and stay strong!! Eat well each day.

      Your in my prayers!!

      Martin L ‘Iceman’ Wheeler
      Retired: Central Pierce Fire and Rescue
      Medic 1

    2. There is no official cause listed yet. As I understand, Caldor is a road where the fire started.

      I recall years ago a fire started near Frog Pond and Pollock Pines from a safety chain on a trailer dragging on Hwy 50 that sparked.

    3. Pipi Campground was the apparent beginning of the Caldor Fire. A free campground, with no running water. Caldor Road is a road about 3 miles away. I bet the name was chosen because it is not common.


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