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Caldor Fire, still growing and uncontained, destroys more than 100 structures

Sacramento Bee logo Sacramento Bee 10/27/2021 Michael McGough, The Sacramento Bee

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The Caldor Fire swelled in size late Thursday, as thousands remain evacuated from their homes in El Dorado County.

The blaze is now covering more than 73,000 acres (115 square miles) and remains 0% contained, Cal Fire and U.S. Forest Service officials wrote in a Friday morning update, up from about 69,000 acres Thursday evening.

More than 1,100 personnel are now assigned to the Caldor Fire, which spotted at short ranges overnight and is still burning in areas with difficult access due to steep drainages.

“With historic drought conditions there is heavy dead and down fuels through the fire area,” Cal Fire and Forest Service officials wrote.

Mandatory evacuations remain in place for Pollock Pines, Sly Park, much of Camino, Kyburz and nearby areas. Voluntary warnings are in effect for northern parts of Amador County.

The state Office of Emergency Services said 23,000 El Dorado County residents were displaced as of Thursday evening, nearly two-thirds of California’s overall total for all current incidents, including the Dixie Fire, the state’s second-largest wildfire ever.


Video: Some Caldor Fire Evacuees Not Returning (CBS Sacramento)

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Evacuation shelters for the Caldor Fire have been set up at Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, Rolling Hills Church in El Dorado Hills and Evelynn Bishop Hall in Ione. Another site, at the Cameron Park Community Center, was full as of Friday morning.

Cal Fire and the Forest Service said close to 7,000 structures remain threatened and at least 104 have been destroyed by the Caldor Fire, though damage assessment is incomplete and that total will likely grow.

Much of the destruction came in the town of Grizzly Flats, population of about 1,200. The fire sprinted through the community, destroying homes, an elementary school, a church, a post office and more before the blaze continued north toward Highway 50. Two civilians were hospitalized with serious injuries.

The Caldor Fire ignited Saturday evening about 4 miles south of Grizzly Flats, then exploded to life late Monday night, prompting urgent overnight evacuations. The blaze continued intense growth Tuesday through Wednesday, leading to a wide expansion of evacuation orders including the Pollock Pines area.

Activity on the fire was milder Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Winds died down due to an inversion layer, meaning the large volume of smoke was suppressing some fire growth, but the fire grew active again by mid-afternoon Thursday as weather patterns shifted, authorities said.

The fire has burned close to Highway 50 between Pollock Pines and Kyburz, but as of Friday morning authorities had yet to shut down the highway.

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