Growing Caldor Fire prompts evacuation orders in California

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A rapidly expanding wildfire in Northern California prompted mandatory evacuation orders for thousands of residents and tourists in El Dorado County Tuesday morning.

The Caldor Fire was ignited Saturday evening in the Omo Ranch area, about 60 miles east of Sacramento, according to the U.S. Forest Service's El Dorado division.

More than 10,000 personnel have been deployed to help contain multiple fires throughout California, including the Caldor Fire, which was 6,500 acres and zero percent contained as of Tuesday. It grew more than 4,000 acres in less than a day and continues to threaten some 2,000 structures, according to the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES.

Related video: Firefighters stretched thin as wildfires devastate the West

"Night firefighting and challenging terrain made accessing the fire difficult," the El Dorado Sheriff's Office said in a statement. "The fire burned very actively throughout the night."

Authorities expanded evacuation orders for neighboring communities Tuesday morning - including for residents in Sly Park, Happy Valley and the Grizzly Flats and Somerset areas - while campers were rushed out of the Sly Park Recreation Area. Dark heavy smoke blanketed much of the region, including in nearby Lake Tahoe and other population destinations, prompting bumper-to-bumper traffic along evacuation routes.

The Caldor Fire burns in El Dorado, Calif., on August 17, 2021. (via KCRA)
The Caldor Fire burns in El Dorado, Calif., on August 17, 2021. (via KCRA)

Nearly 17,000 people across California are currently under evacuation orders, according to Cal OES.

This year has seen extreme heat that helped fuel fires across the Western United States, which has been exacerbated by climate change

The growing threat of the Dixie Fire, the largest burning blaze in the U.S. and the second largest in California history, may force more than 39,000 customers across 16 counties to lose power to prevent more wildfires, according to the state's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric.

Most of the shutoffs will occur in two counties, including Butte, one of four counties where the massive Dixie Fire has scorched nearly 570,000 acres, the utility said. The fire was 31 percent contained as of Monday.

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