Douglas alerts Lake residents they may be evacuated

Vehicles are backed up along Foothill Road on Monday as Tahoe residents caught on the wrong side of the Kingsbury closure home they will be allowed to go home.

Vehicles are backed up along Foothill Road on Monday as Tahoe residents caught on the wrong side of the Kingsbury closure home they will be allowed to go home.
Photo by Kurt Hildebrand.

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Residents of Douglas County at Lake Tahoe near Stateline are being alerted that they may have to evacuate if the Caldor Fire approaches.

No evacuations have been ordered, but the county is warning residents of Kingsbury Grade, Round Hill and Lower Elks Point, Lake Village and Lower Olivers and Kahle Drive area.

The warning will include areas from Highway 50 at Lake Parkway, East to Elks Point Road, excluding the casinos, Kingsbury Grade between Highway 50 and Tramway.

“We are asking residents to stay vigilant, pay attention to emergency phone alerts and have a plan in place for potential evacuations,” officials said. “In addition, plan for road closures in the area.”

Officials expect evacuees will take Highway 50 east to escape the area.

Should the Caldor Fire burn into Nevada, Lake Tahoe residents may find themselves ordered to leave their homes.

Gov. Steve Sisolak delegated the authority to order a mandatory evacuation to Douglas County in his emergency declaration.

“I hereby delegate to Douglas County the authority to compel evacuation of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the county, should it determine that it is necessary or prudent to do so,” the last furthermore in the declaration said. “Additionally, I hereby authorize Douglas County to subdelegate that authority to any county official, department or agency as the county deems proper.”

Under state law, only the governor may order an evacuation and has very rarely done so.

However, with the Caldor Fire prompting the evacuation of the 21,000 residents of the City of South Lake Tahoe, Douglas is preparing for the possibility of evacuations.

On Monday night, Douglas County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue team members met for a pre-evacuation session in Minden.

During the Tamarack Fire, the team was critical in notifying residents of the impending fire.

The governor issued an emergency declaration in that fire, but without the delegation of evacuation authority.

Fire officials said the Caldor Fire is burning actively in Christmas Valley at the western edge of the City of South Lake Tahoe.

The fire could reach Douglas County by burning 10 miles along the ridge above the city or a dozen miles through the Carson Range above Woodfords Canyon and into Foothill.

“Humidity recovery remained poor overnight and allowed the fire to continue to actively burn,” fire officials said. “Fuel conditions remain critical, and we still see active crown runs and group torching in the northeastern divisions of the fire. Current fire behavior is contributing to ember casts traveling up to half a mile. We anticipate early morning winds in the northeast area of the fire. Fire weakened trees continue to present a risk for crews.”

The fire grew to more than 186,000 acres. Containment has been delayed until Sept. 13 as firefighters lost containment on Monday, dropping to 15 percent.

Also concerning is a red flag warning over most of the central Sierra through 11 p.m. Wednesday.


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