The combination of milder weather and in some cases the fire moving into higher elevations with less fuel has allowed the 5,072 firefighters and support personnel on the Caldor Fire near South Lake Tahoe to make increased progress in recent days. Hand crews and dozers have constructed more direct lines on the fire’s edge, stopping the spread in additional areas. The fire was mapped Sunday night at 216,358 acres, an increase of about 1,000 in the last 24 hours.
Several areas have had their mandatory evacuation orders downgraded to warnings, allowing thousands of residents to return to the city of South Lake Tahoe. El Dorado County maintains a map showing the current status of evacuations.
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Crews have confirmed that 714 residences and 208 other structures have burned. Officials have posted a map showing structures which have been evaluated for damage.
On the east side of the fire directly south of Lake Tahoe the large finger of fire east of Christmas Valley and Highway 89 that has burned more than 7,000 acres has fire line completed on the west and north sides. On the southern flank of that finger, hand crews with help from dozers are constructing direct line to keep it from moving to the south and east. They have made great progress. The perimeter of that finger is more than 20 miles, making just this section of the fire alone a huge undertaking.
A wildland fire module has been inserted into the Desolation Wilderness north of Highway 50 to help contain the northwestern corner of the East Zone. A heli-rappel module will also be inserted and additional wildland fire modules are on order for this area.
Sunday night the humidity recovery was poor, rising only into the low 20s on the slopes. On Monday the forecast calls for extremely dry air to remain over the fire area with above average temperatures and humidities in the low to mid-teens. Light winds on ridges in the morning will become westerly during the afternoon. Wednesday through Friday will bring increasing winds, 14 mph out of the west and west-southwest occasionally gusting into the low 20s, and even stronger on the weekend.
On the south side northeast of Kirkwood firefighters have made progress with dozer lines but north of Highway 88 the there is still work remaining.