Crews struggle to stop fire nearing Lake Tahoe
A California fire that gutted hundreds of homes advanced toward Lake Tahoe on Wednesday as thousands of firefighters tried to box in the flames and tourists who hoped to boat or swim were enveloped in a thick yellow haze of the nation’s worst air.
The Caldor Fire spread to within 20 miles southwest of the lake that straddles the California-Nevada state line, eating its way through rugged timberlands and “knocking on the door” of the Lake Tahoe basin, California’s state fire chief Thom Porter warned this week.
Ash rained down on Tuesday and tourists ducked into cafes, outdoor gear shops and casinos on Lake Tahoe Boulevard for a respite from the unhealthy air.
South Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City on the west shore had the nation’s worst air pollution at midmorning Wednesday, reaching 334, in the “hazardous” category of the 0-500 Air Quality Index, according to AirNow, a partnership of federal, state and local air agencies.