As crews made headway against a major wildfire, evacuation orders were modified to warnings Sunday afternoon, allowing tens of thousands of people forced to evacuate South Lake Tahoe to return to their homes.
As the fire paused just a few miles from the forest regions straddling the California-Nevada border, the orders that had forced 22,000 people to abandon the resort were reduced to warnings.
According to KCRA-TV, California Highway Patrol agents began removing barricades on State Route 50 in Stateline, Nevada. National Guard members who had assisted with the firefighting had left the area.
The Caldor Fire is still a threat, but it has been downgraded to a warning, allowing residents to return to their homes in what had been a smoke-choked ghost town rather than a busy Labor Day getaway destination.
Officials aimed to open the local hospital’s emergency room within 24 hours, and paramedics were staffing fire engines for emergency medical care, according to Savacool.
People with health issues, on the other hand, should avoid going due to the smoky air, he warned. People who do return should have extra medication and groceries, as well as a full tank of gas, according to Savacool.
“Your home will still be safe,” Savacool stated, adding that law enforcement was still patrolling.
Authorities warned, however, that in the absence of humans, bears had gone to town, leaving trash all over the place that needed to be picked up.
On the Nevada side of the state border, mandatory evacuation orders were lifted Saturday, but Douglas County officials warned people to remain vigilant, saying the fire still poses a threat to houses.
As per Cal Fire, the wind-driven fire, which had burned as much as 1,000 acres per hour in the northern Sierra Nevada at its peak, was mostly held within current containment lines overnight and was now 43 percent contained.
Although most of the fire’s western and southern edges had been contained, some regions remained off-limits.