California’s Caldor Fire triggers evacuation orders

The Caldor Fire is rapidly expanding through Northern California, prompting mandatory evacuations for residents in El Dorado County, which home to over 190,000 residents. The fire, which ignited Saturday near the Omo Ranch village, has grown to 6,500 acres, with zero containment, according to CalFire

The fire is now the second-largest wildfire burning in California after growing over 4,200 acres on Monday night. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation but officials estimate it will be fully contained by August 21, according to CalFire. 

Fire officials say the blaze is too unpredictable to determine how many structures have been lost. Residents near Barney Ridge, Leoni Meadows, Grizzly Flats and Happy Valley have been ordered to evacuate as Caldor Fire continues to spread. 

Nearly 100 miles away, firefighters are still battling the Dixie Fire, the nation’s largest wildfire and the second-largest in California history. The blaze, which has been active for 34 days, has burned nearly 605,000 acres and is 30% contained, according to CalFire. 

Dixie Fire California
A firefighter monitors the Dixie Fire on August 16, 2021, near Janesville, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty

On Tuesday morning, officials were forced to scrap plans to allow evacuated residents back into their homes as heavy winds and an increase in Dixie Fire activity made Chester, Lake Almanor West and Prattville unsafe. 

“In this environment, any type of wind, no matter what direction — especially the way the fire’s been going — is a concern for everyone,” information officer Jim Evans said in a news conference

The Dixie Fire has destroyed 1,100 buildings and 625 homes, threatening more than 14,000 others, according to CalFire. Officials have said the blaze would be fully contained by October but are in the process of announcing a new containment date as dangerous weather has allowed the blaze to spread.