U.S.|The Caldor fire has burned more than 100,000 acres.
- Aug. 23, 2021, 7:19 a.m. ET
Crews battling the Caldor fire southwest of Lake Tahoe in California endured another stressful weekend as the fire grew by more than 30,000 acres in just two days.
The Caldor fire, which started on Aug. 14 and grew quickly, has burned 104,000 acres and was five percent contained as of Sunday evening, according to The New York Times wildfire tracker.
Nearly 350 homes have been destroyed and more than 17,000 structures are threatened by the fire, fire officials said.
Officials declined to say when they expected to have the fire fully contained, saying at a news conference on Sunday that the situation depended on the fire’s growth and other variables. At least 207 fire engines and 20 helicopters have been assisting in fighting the blaze, requiring more than 1,600 personnel so far.
Thousands of people in El Dorado County had been urged to leave their homes or to prepare to do so, according to the governor’s office. Officials said that evacuation orders could remain in place for up to two weeks. On Saturday, high winds caused the fire to jump Highway 50, one of the main routes between Sacramento and the Lake Tahoe area. . A portion of that highway remains closed.
Favorable weather may assist firefighters at the start of the week — cooler temperatures are predicted across fire-ravaged areas for Monday and Tuesday, but the same areas are forecast to reach above normal by Thursday and into Friday, the National Weather Service said. Portions of Northern California will continue to see smoke and haze from the wildfires.
While wildfires occur throughout the West every year, scientists see the influence of climate change in the extreme heat waves that have contributed to the intensity of fires this summer. Prolonged periods of abnormally high temperatures are a signal of a shifting climate, they say.
Across California, over 13,000 firefighters were battling 13 active large wildfires that have burned more than 1.54 million acres, according to Cal Fire, the state’s firefighting agency.
The Dixie fire, the second-largest on record in California, remains a threat to communities. It has burned more than 720,000 acres since it started more than a month ago. It was only 38 percent contained as Sunday night.