September 18, 2021

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Caldor Fire Update: Flames Jump Highway 50, Nears 100K Acres Burned – CBS Sacramento

17 min read

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13/AP) — The latest on the Caldor Fire burning in El Dorado County:

9:12 p.m.

Firefighters have still not gained any containment in the now 90,107-acre Caldor Fire.

As of Saturday night, more than 13,000 structures remain threatened by the flames, which jumped to the north side of Highway 50 near Kyburz. The fire has completely destroyed 270 structures while another 15 were damaged.

4:53 p.m.

The Caldor Fire has jumped Highway 50 near Kyburz. Firefighters say the community of most concern right now is Kyburz.

A 40-mile stretch of the highway remains fully closed between Pollock Pines and Meyers.

4:30 p.m.

Evacuation orders were extended to include areas south of Farnham Ridge Road and east of Bridgeport School Road to the Amador County line.

All other evacuation orders and warnings remain in place.

7:02 a.m.

Crews are digging in and burning out fire lines amid fears that another round of high winds will bring renewed fury to the Caldor Fire.

It has destroyed dozens of homes and on Friday authorities closed down a 46-mile stretch of Interstate 50, the main route between Sacramento and Lake Tahoe. They’re concerned about forecasts of winds Saturday up to 40 mph.

Overnight, it grew by close to 7,000 acres, according to Saturday morning’s update.

The fire has now burned 82,444 acres and destroyed 245 homes.

El Dorado County Sheriff, in collaboration with Cal Fire, has released a map displaying properties that have been inspected for any damage or any that have been destroyed. View it here: https://www.edcgov.us/Pages/Caldor-Fire.aspx

Previous day’s updates below:

7:52 p.m.

The Caldor Fire has grown to burn 75,845 acres as of Friday evening. There was still no containment of the blaze, while approximately 15,000 structures remained threatened, according to Cal Fire.

The number of structures destroyed grew to 164 and another 8 were reported as damaged.

4:55 p.m.

A closure of Highway 50 was being implemented as of 4:30 p.m. due to safety concerns with the Caldor Fire. The closure will be from Sly Park Road in Pollock Pines to Meyers.

Additionally, Cal Fire added more evacuation orders Friday afternoon. Mandatory evacuations are now in place for:

  • Silver Fork Road in Kyburz east to Twin Bridges
  • North and south in a line extending from Twin Bridges to the Placer County line and south to the Amador County line.

Anyone in Kyburz or east of Kyburz who is under mandatory evacuation orders is advised to head east on Highway 50 toward Lake Tahoe.

Evacuation warnings are in place for:

  • The mandatory evacuation order line in Twin Bridges to the Echo Summit area and from Highway 50 south to the Amador and Alpine County lines and north to the Placer County line.
  • Dry Lakes Section, north of Wentworth Springs Road up to the Placer line and the remaining area of El Dorado County south of Placer County to Loon Lake

9:55 a.m.

Highway 50 remains open but the on-/off-ramps at Sly Park Road and Ridgeway Drive in El Dorado County remain closed. There are elevated fire concerns this weekend due to increased winds.

7:22 a.m.

The Caldor Fire is 73,415 acres in size and is 0 percent contained. It has destroyed 104 structures and is threatening 6,905 homes.

Latest Coverage: Caldor Fire Evacuees Adjusting To Living In Shelters

Previous day’s updates below: 

9:22 p.m.

The Caldor Fire has grown to burn 68,630 as of Thursday evening with zero containment.

According to Cal Fire, more than 100 structures have been destroyed in the fire, while nearly 7,000 more remain threatened. It is unclear how many of those are homes.

At least two civilian injuries have been reported so far.

2:02 p.m.

A community meeting about the fire is scheduled for 5 p.m. tonight. It’ll be live here and on the Cal Fire Amador-El Dorado Unit Facebook page.

10:27 a.m.

Visibility is improved today on the Highway 50 corridor in El Dorado County but the on-/off-ramps at Sly Park Road and Ridgeway Drive remain closed.

9:18 a.m.

Cal OES is reporting that 23,000 people in El Dorado County have been evacuated due to the Caldor Fire. That’s 10,000 more than all of the other fire-related evacuations statewide.

9:14 a.m.

The Red Cross has opened up another shelter in El Dorado County. This one is at District Church, which is at 7000 Rossmore Lane.

8:41 a.m.

The Eldorado National Forest remains closed for the safety of the public and firefighters. Those who are found on National Forest lands, roads, or trails could be fined up to $5,000 as an individual or up to $10,000 as a group, the Forest Service warns.

6:57 a.m.

Cal Fire AEU has issued a new incident update on the Caldor Fire.

At last check, the official acreage of the fire stands at 65,474.

The fire growth was moderate overnight, due to increased humidity. Spot fires remain hidden due to dense timber stands and limited road access. Authorities expect fire behavior to increase in the afternoon as the inversion layer lifts.

Multiple spot fires are expected to pop up in the north and northeast areas of the incident, causing potential fire growth. The red flag warning expires at 11 a.m.

The number of structures threatened now stands at 6,905. The number of structures destroyed is still undetermined.

Previous day’s updates below: 

9:06 p.m.

The Caldor Fire is now 62,586 acres in size. It’s 0% contained and is threatening 5,897 structures. Full containment is estimated to happen by August 31, 2021.

5:50 p.m.

With the threat of the Caldor Fire, the Red Cross has announced two temporary evacuation points in Amador County.

  1. Amador Fairgrounds: 18621 Sherwood Street, in Plymouth
  2. Evelyn Bishop Hall: 701 CA 124, in Ione

They also urge residents to park their car in the direction of their evacuation route if they need to quickly escape.

5:25 p.m.

5:23 p.m.

Evacuation Warnings have been issued for the following areas south of the El Dorado-Amador County line from:

  • Shenandoah Road at the Amador County line west through the River Pines community, continuing west on Shenandoah Road to Ostrom Road.
  • South on Ostrom Road to Jibboom Street, west on Jibboom Street to Fiddletown Road.
  • East on Fiddletown Road to Hale Road.
  • South on Hale Road to Shake Ridge Road.
  • East on Shake Ridge Road to Charleston Road.
  • South on Charleston Road to the intersection of Charleston Road and Rams Horn Grade.
  • Due east to Highway 88 at Tiger Creek Road.
  • Tiger Creek Road east to Salt Springs Reservoir Road.
  • East on Salt Springs Reservoir Road to the east end of the Salt Springs Reservoir.
  • Due north from the east end of Salt Springs reservoir to Highway 88. From this location.Amador County Sheriff’s Office is urging people to sign up for their CodeRED community notification system. Click here: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BFF76B488C09

5:17 p.m.

Cal Fire Press Conference:

  • The fire stands at 53,772 acres and is 0% contained.
  • It will take time until residents are allowed back home.
  • Inversion conditions today helped to slow the spread of the fire, although the fire is still growing.
  • The fire is heading towards Highway 50 and away from populated areas.
  • It’s burning in “challenging terrain.”
  • Sheriff’s deputies are well-staffed and patrolling the evacuated areas. They are stopping and making contact with all people they encounter.
  • Evacuation warning areas: Ok to be in. Be prepared to leave as needed.
  • Evacuation order areas: Not open to be in.
  • Multiple damage inspection teams are out and will have some information in about a week or so.
  • The fire has not crossed Highway 50. It’s a few hundred yards away from the Highway at Ice House.
  • Amador County is now under an evacuation warning in the Caldor Fire. The Office of Emergency Services said authorities are evacuating people sooner, which they credit with no loss of life. A warning means, get ready to evacuate and leave now if you need extra time.
  • Amador County Sheriff’s Office is urging people to sign up for their CodeRED community notification system. Click here: https://public.coderedweb.com/CNE/en-US/BFF76B488C09

1:32 p.m.

While plumes are less defined after the Caldor Fire exploded yesterday, smoke still fills the air in El Dorado County.

Down in the valley, smoke has pulled air quality down to unhealthy levels.

10:18 a.m.

The Red Flag Warning for the Sacramento Valley and western Sierra has been extended until Thursday night.

According to the National Weather Service, the strongest winds are still expected Wednesday night.

9:01 a.m.

The Eldorado National Forest is now under an emergency closure through September due to the Caldor Fire.

This means that people are now prohibited from going into or being on National Forest System lands in the Eldorado National Forest. Further, people are also prohibited from being on a National Forest System road or trail.

People face a fine of $5,000 per person to $10,000 for an organization, or 6 months in prison, for violating the order.

8:45 a.m.

Stop lights through Placerville are now back to normal operations after being changed to give Caldor Fire evacuees priority.

The signals at Canal Street, Spring Street, and Bedford Avenue are now back to normal and cross traffic is again accessible.

7:42 a.m.

Cal Fire reports that the Caldor Fire has grown to a total of 53,772 acres as of Wednesday morning, more than doubling its size since Tuesday evening.

No containment has been reported at this point.

Extremely dry fuels coupled with southwest winds caused Tuesday’s explosive growth, firefighters say. A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for the area through Wednesday night.

7:10 a.m.

The American Red Cross’ evacuation center at Cameron Park Community Center is now full, officials say.

At the moment, officials say there is some availability at the Green Valley Community Church along 3500 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville.

6:16 a.m.

Several new evacuation orders have been issued for the Caldor Fire early Wednesday morning.

The following areas have been ordered to evacuate immediately:

South of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road, including the community of Kyburz.

North of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Silver Fork Road, including Ice House Reservoir, Union Valley Reservoir, and Loon Lake.

Further, due to fire evacuations, the following schools will be closed on Wednesday:

Gold Oak Union School District: Gold Oak Elementary School & Pleasant Valley Middle School

Pioneer Union School District: Walt Tyler Elementary, Pioneer Elementary, Mountain Creek Middle School

District officials say it appears that Walt Tyler Elementary School campus in Grizzly Flats is a total loss.

Previous day’s updates below: 

9:56 p.m.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office says the evacuation centers in Diamond Springs and Cameron Park are at capacity. They urge residents to use the evacuation center at Green Valley Church, which is at 3500 Missouri Flat Road, Placerville.

Also, California has secured federal assistance to support the response to the Caldor Fire.

9:15 p.m.

The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has issued evacuation orders for all areas between Mormon Emigrant Trail and Highway 88.

8:03 p.m.

For the first time today, there are mandatory evacuations in effect north of Highway 50.

Mandatory Evacuations (source: Eldorado NF):

  • South side of Highway 50 north of Sly Park to extend west to Shows Road.
  • North side of Highway 50 from Larsen Drive to the west and Ice House to the east.

Evacuation Warnings:

  • Crystal Basin north of Highway 50 to include the area of Loon Lake Ice House, and Union Valley Reservoir.
  • Area south of Highway 50 from Ice House Road to Kyburz, extending south of Highway 88.

CALFIRE says resources are coming from downstate for the Caldor Fire.

“We have continuously brought in additional resources overnight and throughout the day from Southern California and other areas that have not yet been affected and are not currently predicting significant winds”

Watch: CBS13 toured part of Grizzly Flats to show residents what was standing.

6:47 p.m.

The Red Cross is opening up an evacuation shelter at Green Valley Community Church, which is at 3500 Missouri Flat Road in Placerville.

6:35 p.m.

CBS13 reporters shared these updates Monday:

6:18 p.m.

All hotels in the Placerville area are completely booked. Management at Best Western there tells CBS13 they’ve turned 100-plus evacuees away after booking their last room early this morning. They also say all hotels down to Folsom are full.

5:48 p.m.

Cal Fire held a meeting Tuesday night to discuss the latest developments in the Caldor Fire. Here are the main points of the meeting:

  • 30,000 acres burned (yesterday acres burned were 1,400); zero containment.
  • Roughly 242 crew members are battling the fire.
  • Officials are considering a full forest-wide closure.
  • The fire has crossed Mormon Emigrant Trail
  • Crews expect continual south/southwest flow of wind tonight, which will keep the fire flowing in a northerly direction.
  • In light of rumors of looters in the area, 30-40 sheriff’s deputies in the area of fire in security teams to protect homes.
  • There was no answer as to whether or not water sources will be impacted.
  • Crews are asking the public for patience as they fight the fire.
  • There’s no word on a timeline of when people could possibly head back home and assess damages.

5:05 p.m.

Cal Fire says the fire has burned 30,000 acres and is 0% percent contained.

Watch the latest live update here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=319885566584155

4:25 p.m.

The following areas are currently under mandatory evacuation orders:

  • Pollock Pines
  • East of Sly Park Road
  • South of Highway 50 up to Ice House Road, including north of Mormon Immigrant Trail and Jenkinson Lake
  • Grizzly Flats/Somerset east of Mt. Aukum Road
  • Happy Valley

Governor Newsom has proclaimed a state of emergency in El Dorado County due to the fire.

4:12 p.m.

Other news outlets are reporting a number of structures damaged; however, there is no official assessment of damage at this time, says a fire spokesperson.

3:53 p.m.

Cal Fire reports that the Caldor Fire has burned 6,500 acres and is 0% contained.

(This is a reduction in the total acreage Cal Fire reported earlier of 8,000 acres.)

3:50 p.m.

Placerville Police warn that WB Highway 50 will be congested as people from the Pollock Pines leave their homes. Manual traffic control will be implemented and officers will not allow cross traffic during these times.

3:44 p.m.

The Diamond Springs evacuation center has been closed and has moved to Cameron Park. Here are the evacuation centers currently open:

  • Cameron Park (CSD, 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park)
  • Large Animal Shelter (Amador County Fairgrounds, 18621 Sherwood St., Plymouth, (Empire Street Gate)
  • Small Animal Shelter: (530) 621-5795

3:30 p.m.

Highway 50 from Meyers to Ice House Road may be closed in the next couple of hours due to the Caldor Fire, the CHP says. They urge people leaving South Lake Tahoe to do so as soon as possible and use alternate routes such as SR-89 to I-80 or US-50 to I-395.

2:49 p.m.

The Diamond Springs Fire Hall evacuation center is now full, Cal Fire says.

Evacuees are being urged to go to the Cameron Park CSD at 2502 Country Club Drive.

People with large animals can head to the Amador County Fairgrounds at 18621 Sherwood Street in Plymouth.

A map with the latest details on evacuation orders can be found here: https://eldoradocounty.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c995bf3816964e948d7d831d3ba938ff

1:15 p.m.

Mandatory evacuation orders are now in effect for parts of Pollock Pines.

According to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s, the following areas are now under evacuation orders:

  • East of Sly Park Road.
  • South of Hwy 50 up to Ice House Road.
  • North of Mormon Emigrant Trail (including Jenkinson’s/Sly Park Lake).

Evacuation warnings are also in effect for the following areas:

  • South of Hwy 50 to Pleasant Valley Road.
  • From Sly Park Road, west to Snows Road and Newtown Road, including the community of Rancho Del Sol.

12:55 p.m.

Tuesday’s Red Flag Warning has now been extended through 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Gusty winds are predicted for the mountains and portions of the Sacramento Valley starting early Tuesday afternoon. Coupled with the extremely dry conditions, the fire danger level is critical.

11:46 a.m.

Placerville authorities say they are closely monitoring the Caldor Fire burning nearby, but say there is no indication at this point that it’s moving towards the city. 

People are being urged to sign up for El Dorado County’s CodeRED notification system to know if and when evacuation orders have been given out. 

10:15 a.m.

Evacuation orders have now been issued for the Sly Park area due to the Caldor Fire, authorities say. 

An evacuation warning has also been given to the Pollock Pines area. 

9:48 a.m.

As the Caldor Fire grows, its path of destruction is also becoming more clear.

No exact number of homes destroyed or damaged has been released at this point, but it’s clear that many houses have been lost.

The unpredictable nature of the Caldor Fire has also forced our own news crew to be escorted out of possible danger.

7:25 a.m.

New evacuation orders have been issued early Tuesday morning for the Caldor Fire.

The following areas are affected:

Grizzly Flats/Somerset
• All roads off of Grizzly Flat Rd., east of Mt. Aukum Rd. in Somerset (Known as Four Corners) into Grizzly Flats Proper
Happy Valley
• All roads off of Happy Valley Road, east of Mt. Aukum Rd. in Somerset to Sciaroni

The new evacuation orders came after more residents were ordered to leave very early Tuesday morning. These areas included:

Grizzly Flats
• Henry Diggins off Caldor Rd
• Areas of Grizzly Flats from Grizzly Flats Rd & Arctic Lane, east to include:
o Consumnes Mine Rd o String Canyon Rd
o Sciaroni Road o Capps Crossing east to North South Rd
o North to String Canyon Road

Happy Valley
• Happy Valley Rd from Sweeneys Crossing to Sciaroni Rd

As of Tuesday morning, the Caldor Fire has grown to 6,500 acres.

Previous day’s updates below:

11:45 p.m.

Due to rapidly expanding fire Monday night, the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office has issued mandatory evacuations notices for the Grizzly Flats.

7:34 p.m.

11:14 a.m.

The evacuation notice for the Leoni Meadows and Big Mountain areas have now been upgraded to Mandatory Evacuation Orders, authorities say.

According to the El Dorado National Forest, the sheriff’s office notified homeowners in those areas of the evacuation orders on Monday morning.

8:30 a.m.

The Caldor Fire has now grown to 754 acres as of Monday morning, the forest service reports. 

No containment is reported at this point. 

Yesterday, smoky conditions grounded fixed-wing aircraft that could have helped battle the fire. Helicopters are still helping in the firefight, however. 

Firefighters will be continuing to build lines where possible. 

High temperatures coupled with gusty winds are giving firefighters cause for concern on Monday. 

Previous day’s updates below:

Mandatory evacuations are in place for a new vegetation fire near Grizzly Flats in El Dorado County.

The Caldor Fire was reported Saturday at approximately 7 p.m. and is estimated at 400 acres with zero containment, as of Sunday afternoon, according to the ElDorado National Forest Service.

It is located about one mile east of Omo Ranch, burning in the area of Middle Fork Cosumnes River.

Firefighters report that challenging terrain and darkness made accessing the fire difficult and it burned actively throughout the night.

There are currently 90 personnel assigned to the fire, with additional resources en route.

An evacuation center has been set up at the Diamond Springs Fire Hall at 501 Pleasant Valley Road.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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