NewsForest fires threaten popular tourist destinations in California

Forest fires threaten popular tourist destinations in California

Thousands of people are fleeing the flames in the picturesque excursion area around Lake Tahoe, California. If the heat and drought persist, there is a fire in many places on the US West Coast.

Sacramento – Burning forests, ash rain and traffic jams: The usually picturesque California getaway area of Lake Tahoe is threatened by rapidly spreading forest fires.

Waldbrände in Kalifornien

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Michael Posadas prepares for evacuation near Lake Tahoe. The popular California excursion area is threatened by rapidly spreading forest fires.

On Monday (local time) tens of thousands of people were asked to leave the southern edge of the huge mountain lake in the Sierra Nevada. The fire department had ordered the evacuation of the US region threatened by the so-called Caldor fire as a precautionary measure. There were hours of traffic jams on the main thoroughfare in the El Dorado district on the California and Nevada border.

The fire, which had been raging for more than two weeks, had eaten its way east to the vacation area in northern California at the weekend. “We now have bigger and more destructive fires,” said fire department chief Chris Anthony on Monday. The ongoing drought and the effects of climate change exacerbated the situation.

More than 3,700 firefighters are fighting the Caldor fire, but the fire was only 15 percent under control on Monday. Five people have been injured so far, including firefighters, as the authorities announced on Monday evening (local time). The fire has already covered an area of more than 750 square kilometers west of Lake Tahoe and destroyed more than 660 houses in the mountain region, it said. The fire department pointed out dangerous conditions due to extremely dry vegetation and strong winds.

The environmental authorities have been warning of unhealthy air quality for weeks. Due to the risk of forest fire and smoke pollution, the El Dorado national forest was closed to hikers and other visitors. The closure is initially planned for the end of September.

Lake Tahoe, which is visited annually by millions of people, is known for its deep blue and pure water. The region with the famous Squaw Valley and Heavenly Valley ski areas is also one of America’s winter sports paradises.

The western United States and Canada have been hit by a series of forest fires for many weeks. On Monday, the authorities in California listed more than 15 major forest fires, more than 15,000 firefighters and helpers were in the west coast state.

The so-called Dixie Fire in Northern California has been raging since mid-July and has so far burned more than 3,100 square kilometers of land there, according to the fire protection authority Cal Fire. The second largest fire in the history of California in terms of area is only half under control even after weeks of deployment by the fire brigade. dpa

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