Smoke from the Caldor Fire has created hazardous levels of smoke, which means the air is dangerous for everyone to breathe in the Tahoe region.
IQAir ranks South Lake Tahoe as having the worst air quality in the nation, citing AQI levels air 4 times above healthy exposure levels. The Caldor Fire, which is only 10 days old, has exploded to nearly 123,000 acres and taken out 632 structures including more than 450 homes. It helped spur evacuations and, along with several blazes across the state, led to the closure of nine national forests. Nearly 18,000 properties were still in danger from the blaze, which was 11% contained as of Tuesday evening, according to USA Today.
"It is knocking on the door to the Lake Tahoe basin," said Chief Thom Porter, director of CAL FIRE. "We have all efforts in place to keep it out of the basin but we do need to also be aware that is a possibility based on the way the fires have been burning."
"We are working 24 hours a day with adequate personnel to make sure that people are safe," said El Dorado County Sheriff's Office Spokesman Sgt. Eric Palmberg, who took members of the community through evacuations that could occur in the South Lake Tahoe area. "There is plenty of planning. We are going to keep the community safe. That's our job."