The Caldor Fire in El Dorado County has already burned more than 125,000 acres. CAL FIRE is calling it the “number one priority in the nation” for firefighters.
The Air Quality Index at Lake Tahoe has been more than 800 over the past three to five days, whereas a healthy level would be about 100. That’s all according to Mike Peron, who’s been overseeing Caldor Fire coverage for the Tahoe Daily Tribune and the Sierra Sun.
“We've had the worst air quality in the nation when generally we have the most pure mountain air here. And it is putting a lot of people in panic, even though we get these messages from CAL FIRE, from Eldorado County representatives, from our local city officials that are all working in tandem. And it's tough to keep people calm right now.”
He says ash has been falling in his city for the past five days, and spot fires can blow over the Echo Ridge (the main pass between the Bay Area and Sacramento) and drop down into Lake Tahoe neighborhoods. Fortunately, local firefighters say they are ready for that, he adds.
He notes that the area hasn’t received an evacuation warning yet. “The big thing here is that we only have six inlets and outlets … the entire Tahoe Basin, one of which is now shut down, that highway 50 corridor where the fire is burning. So we've got five outlets now for all of these people to evacuate if that does happen. That's where you start to get a little worried as well as ‘okay, how's it going to play out if it does happen?’”