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‘Monumental Day’ As A whole lot Return To Properties Close to Pollock Pines – CBS San Francisco

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE (CBS SF / AP) – Optimism continued to rise among the ranks of the small army of firefighters battling the massive Caldor fire near Lake Tahoe on Saturday. Evacuated residents returned to their homes on the secured west edge of the fire, while crews slowed the flames advance on the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe.

During his morning update for the crew leaders on Saturday, Tim Ernst, chief of Cal Fire West Zone Ops, uttered words they longed to hear in the more than two weeks that wiped them out with the wildfire on US Highway 50 .

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“Yesterday was a monumental day and you must all acknowledge that,” he said. “We have brought hundreds back to their homes … On behalf of all of these people, I want to thank you … The incident is looking better and better every day. I am sorry.” We talked yesterday about being cautiously optimistic and we are continuing in that mode. ”

The wildfire ignited near Pollock Pines on Aug. 14 and evolved into a wind-whipped conflagration that devastated the El Dorado County’s Grizzly Flats community and eventually destroyed hundreds of homes before crossing the Echo along Highway 50 Summit to the outskirts of South Lake, Tahoe marched.

Cheryl Romaine was among those evicted from their homes. She woke up at home on Saturday morning.

“We’re happy to be home again, we missed our little retreat here,” she said. “Nothing like this has ever happened to us. We only evacuated for one day during the King Fire. And that wasn’t even mandatory. But this one must have gone crazy. “


Ernst told the crews that there were still challenges in the western sector. There were still patches of heat along the American River drainage. Firefighters were still trying to hold the fire near Wrights Lake.

In the eastern zone, a specially trained fire brigade team was deployed to combat the northern spread of the fire between the wood and scrub of the rocky Desolation Wilderness.

Crews also fought point fires around Caples Lake near Kirkwood while the leading edge of the Fire Finger marched towards Heavenly Ski Resort and the Nevada state line.

CONTINUE READING: Caldor Fire Update: Cal Fire ‘cautiously optimistic’ when wind eases; Devastation in Phillips Park; Gun battle at Lower Echo Lake

Lighter winds and higher humidity at the start of Labor Day weekend helped as the firefighters quickly took advantage of it by doubling down on the burning and cutting of fire lines.

Giant-bladed bulldozers, crews armed with shovels, and a fleet of airplanes dropping hundreds of thousands of liters of water and fire retardant helped limit the fire’s advance to a few thousand acres – a fraction of its explosive spread last month and the smallest Increase in two weeks.

“Things are clearly going in the right direction for us,” said Dean Gould, a manager with the US Forest Service.

While residents on the western edge were able to return, the thousands forced into their homes anxiously waited for the green light to return to their homes.

“Everything is based on fire behavior,” said Jake Cagle, a fire chief for the east zone. “At the moment it looks good … we’re approaching.”

The resort area can easily accommodate 100,000 people on a busy weekend, but it was incredibly empty just before the holiday weekend.

The wildfire dealt a severe blow to an economy heavily dependent on tourism and began to recover from pandemic shutdowns this summer.

“It’s a huge achievement for our local businesses and the workers who rely on a steady income to pay rent and bring food to the table,” said Devin Middlebrook, Mayor Pro-Tem of South Lake Tahoe.

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He said the closure will also harm the city as it receives most of its revenue from hotel taxes and sales taxes for police and fire departments, as well as road maintenance.

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