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Lake Tahoe residents relieved homes spared from wildfire | Evacuations, road closures and updates

As containment on the wildfire goes up, more and more people are getting cleared to return home.
Credit: abc10kxtv
Berly LaRue returns home to South Lake Tahoe

EL DORADO COUNTY, Calif. — People who fled South Lake Tahoe under threat of a wildfire have been trickling back home, but many shops remained dark Monday and the resort town's normally bustling streets remained quiet.

Evacuation orders for the resort town were downgraded Sunday to warnings. 

Some 22,000 people were forced to flee last week as the Caldor Fire approached the town on the California-Nevada border. Fire officials say easing winds reduced the fire's spread in recent days. However, authorities warn that Tahoe residents aren't out of the woods yet. Authorities say people need to bring their own supplies, those with health problems should stay away because of the smoky air and bears have strewn the town with trash.

Returning residents said they were relieved to see the scenic resort town remains intact. 

“Still a little scary because warnings are just as nerve wracking. But it’s nice to be able to come back and get things straightened out. And know that you’re safe and your house is safe and its still standing,” said Berly LaRue, who lives in South Lake Tahoe.

LaRue is looking forward to getting back to some semblance of normal as the city reopens. Stores like Grass Roots Natural Foods in South Lake Tahoe have already opened their doors. Natasha Stone works at Grass Roots and says the store has been many people’s first stop. 

“All I’m getting from everybody is, ‘Wow, we’re here.’ And they’re all very grateful we’re open today. They didn’t think we’d be open, so we’re glad to be here,” she said.

On Monday, more evacuation orders for parts of El Dorado County were downgraded to warnings, allowing more people to go home. 

Sergeant Eric Palmberg said the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office is discussing plans that would allow people access into the Grizzly Flat area that remains under evacuation orders. He said those plans don't have a timeline at this point, but more information on the process is expected in the coming days.

Along Highway 50, crews are tied up with hazard tree removal and restoring power poles that could support safe repopulation in the coming days. Over in Meyers and Christmas Valley, containment lines are being improved through aggressive mop up and hazard trees are being removed to make the communities safe.

Barton Memorial Hospital also opened with limited service available, which include advanced life support services for emergency needs, emergency imaging and laboratory services. More information can be found at BartonHealth.org.

Key Figures

  • Acres: 216,358
  • Containment: 48%
  • Homes destroyed: 752
  • Structures threatened: 24,647
  • Structures damaged: 76
  • Total personnel: 4,723

Evacuations and Road Closures

Click HERE for in-depth evacuation orders and warnings in El Dorado County. For evacuation orders and warnings in Amador County, click HERE for the Amador County Sheriff's Facebook page and HERE for their website. Click HERE for Alpine County evacuation zones. Click HERE for Douglas County evacuations. For current state highway/route information visit roads.dot.ca.gov.

Evacuation centers

El Dorado County Shelters

  • Green Valley Community Church, Placerville
  • Cameron Park CSD, Cameron Park
  • Rolling Hills Church, El Dorado Hills

Nevada County Shelter

  • Truckee Veterans Hall, 10214 High St, Truckee

Amador County

  • Temporary Evacuation Point Italian Picnic Grounds, Sutter Creek

Nevada state shelters

  • Reno/Sparks Convention Center at 4590 S. Virginia Street, Reno
  • Fuji Park 601 Clear Creek Rd., Carson City, NV
  • RV Dry Camping and Large Animals, Dayton Event Center/Rodeo Grounds 
  • Lyon County Fair Grounds, Yerington

Animal Evacuation Centers:

  • El Dorado County Animal Services (small animals), Diamond Springs. For animal evacuation questions or assistance call (530) 621-5795
  • Saureel Vineyards (large animals), Placerville - FULL 
  • Amador County Fairgrounds (large animal)- for Amador County residents only, Plymouth
  • East to West Grooming 1368 Hwy 395, Unit B1, Gardnerville, NV
    - (Small Animals Only)
  • Washoe County Animal Services 2825 Longley Ln, Ste A Reno, NV
  • Douglas County Fairgrounds- (Livestock) 920 Dump Road, Gardnerville, NV
    775-782-9061
  • Douglas County Animal Services 921 Dump Rd. Gardnerville, NV
    - (Small Animals Only)

Accounts to follow

Evacuation Maps

A map of evacuations from the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office is available below.

An evacuation map from the Amador County Sheriff's Office can be viewed HERE.

map of evacuations in Alpine County is available HERE.

Online Structure Damage Map

An online structure damage map is available by clicking HERE or viewing below. To locate your home, type in the address in the top left corner. If you don't see an icon, the structure has not yet been identified.

Wildfire map

Click here for a map of the Caldor Fire.

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Wildfire Preps

If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.

WATCH: What you need to know to prepare, stay safe for wildfires

The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.

Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts. 

Read more: Are you wildfire ready? Here's what to do to prepare for fire season.

PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.

WATCH MORE ON ABC10: California wildfires: Evening update for Caldor, Bridge and Dixie fires - Sept. 5, 2021