Caldor Fire Scorches California Moves Towards South Lake Tahoe

California's Caldor Fire

Last week the Caldor Fire in California grew to 24 times its size in two days and forced more than 10,000 residents to evacuate El Dorado County. As of this morning, the fire has scorched 126,182 acres, destroyed 637 structures (including hundreds of homes), is only 20 miles from South Lake Tahoe, and is only at 11% containment. "The unfortunate thing is that these fires continue to get bigger," Cal Fire Director Thom Porter said Wednesday at a press conference. "But we're surging resources into communities to protect and reduce the impact."

Why This Matters

As global temperatures have continued to rise, devastating wildfires have blazed in Siberia, Turkey, and Greece. In the US alone as of yesterday more than than 2.5 million acres have burned and 25,000 firefighters are working to contain 92 large fires and complexes in 12 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Moreover, according to the recently released IPCC report, these blazes could worsen. Even if emissions decreased starting today, the global average temperature is likely to rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in 20 years, making explosive wildfires like the Caldor Fire even more common.

Fires Burning Across the West

The Caldor Fire isn't the only blaze causing problems for the state. According to Cal Fire, in Lake County, Northern California, the Cache Fire destroyed 58 homes and caused the evacuation of 1,600 residents near Clearlake.

Meanwhile, the Dixie Fire is currently the nation's largest fire and the second-largest fire in California's history. After burning for 42 days, it's still burning at 43% containment. The fire has destroyed more than 1,200 structures, including 678 single residences, and has injured three first responders.

The fire has been remarkably resistant to containment because of the weather. "The Dixie Fire is the first fire that we're aware of that has burned from the west side of the mountain range all the way over and to the valley floor on the east side of the mountain range. We don't have any record of that happening before," Thom Porter said Wednesday. "It is exceedingly resistant to control. While we've had some successes … when the winds come, we're finding that fires are spotting in some cases miles outside of that fire."

Outside of California, the Ford Corkscrew Fire has been burning northwest of Spokane, Washington. According to officials, the fire has scorched 15,787 acres as of today and is at 59% containment. In Utah, 6,000 displaced citizens were able to return to their homes last week, after officials announced that the Parleys Canyon Fire finally reached 80% containment.