State of Emergency declared for Lake Tahoe fire
Photo courtesy Louisa
By Ananda Shorey
June 25, 2007
A state of emergency has been declared this morning for the South
Lake Tahoe area, where a fire has ravaged an estimated 220 homes
and charred up to 2,500 acres.
Lt. Gov. John Garamendi today signed the emergency proclamation
declaring a State of Emergency for El Dorado County, according
to the governor's office. The proclamation will provide state
funding to cover the costs of fighting the fire and repairing
The fire, which began at 2 p.m. Sunday, has scorched hundreds
of structures and at least 1,000 structures remain threatened,
including a high school. A mandatory evacuation is in place for
1,000 people, fire officials said today.
Planes are having trouble taking off to fight the fire because
winds have died down and thick plumes of smoke have blanketed
the area. There is concern because winds are expected to pick
up again mid-week, possibly causing the fire to spread more quickly.
"It is just kind of a surreal atmosphere," said Mary
Pierce, a fiscal administrative manager in the Office of Emergency
Services at El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.
No injuries have been reported as result of the blaze, known
as the Angora Fire, which is burning near South Lake Tahoe, Pierce
The South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department set up a
temporary shelter and has moved evacuated residents from areas
southwest of Lake Tahoe between Meyers and Fallen Leaf Lake to
Some displaced residents were seeking shelter at the recreation
center, while others had been placed at hotels and provided with
food and clothing.
"Panic has not set in," Pierce said. "They are
helping each other -- neighbors helping neighbors."
Droves of people were congregating at Ernie's Coffee Shop today
in South Lake Tahoe to console each other and talk about the fire,
said Paul Bruso, who has owned the business for 27 years.
One customer who moved into his newly built house Saturday is
now homeless, Bruso said.
"People are still a little bit in shock. No one really knows
what will happen, but Tahoe is a resilient place," Bruso
The fire came within a couple blocks of Bruso's house last night,
he said. Luckily, the winds shifted today. The blaze is within
a mile of Ernie's.
Ash is covering the ground and cars. The smell of smoke is wafting
through the air and breathing is difficult after a short time
outside, Bruso said.
The fire started around 2 p.m. Sunday, according A USDA Forest
Service operator said she had been fielding calls from concerned
vacation homeowners who lived as far away as Hawaii and Rhode
The fire is thought to have started in the mostly single-family
subdivision of Tahoe Paradise, in the general vicinity of Mt.
Rainier Street and North Upper Truckee Boulevard.
"It was a human-caused fire," said USDA Forest Service
spokesman Rex Norman. There is no evidence that its origin is
suspicious, he said.
Crews from the Forest Service, Lake Tahoe Fire Department and
Cal Fire are fighting the blaze, Norman said.
There were 12 helicopters, 110 engines and four dozers fighting
the blaze this morning, in addition to other support personnel.
Two firefighters from Alameda and Contra Costa counties were
sent to the fire, Contra Costa County fire spokeswoman Emily Hopkins
At 11 a.m. today, four firefighters from the city of Napa were
heading to Tahoe to help in the containment effort.
Crews are working today to get a containment line around the
fire. There is no estimate for containment, Norman said.
U.S. Highway 50 is closed from Sly Park Recreation Area, which
is near the town of Pollock Pines, to the California-Nevada state
Darlene Whitmore, a transportation engineering technician with
the California Department of Transportation.
Drivers can take eastbound Interstate Highway 80 to southbound
state Highway 267 near Truckee, Whitmore said.
Officials are advising people to stay away from the area.
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