Caldor Fire Map, Update As Hazardous Air Quality Reported in California

The large Caldor Fire burning in California has now destroyed more than 100,000 acres of land, as multiple areas close to the blaze are reporting "hazardous" air quality due to the spread of smoke from the wildfire.

In an update at 8:21 p.m. EST on Monday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) confirmed that the Caldor Fire had so far destroyed 114,166 acres while being 9 percent contained as it continued to spread close to Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border between California and Nevada.

Monday's data showed that the blaze, which is burning through parts of the Eldorado National Forest, had slowed down as it grew by about 15,000 acres over the weekend after exploding in size last week, with the acreage growing by about 50,000 acres from Tuesday to Wednesday.

More than 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate from their homes in the path of the blaze, while data from Cal Fire shows that 615 buildings and homes have been destroyed due to the fire, and 29 have been damaged.

The blaze has been burning for nine days, and it has caused devastation in parts, as last week at least two people were injured as several buildings were destroyed by the fire in the small town of Grizzly Flats, including an elementary school and church.

Caldor Fire map
A map provided by Google Maps on August 24 showing the destruction caused by the Caldor Fire in California. Google Maps

In response to the fire, Eldorado National Forest Supervisor Jeff Marsolais issued an "emergency forest closure of all National Forest System lands, roads, and trails within the Eldorado National Forest."

Cal Fire has assigned 48 crews totalling 2,051 personnel to help tackle the blaze, while 211 fire engines, 51 dozers and 24 water tenders are at the site of the large wildfire.

Smoke from the blaze has caused the air quality surrounding the nearby Lake Tahoe to become the worst in the country, as multiple areas are currently reporting "hazardous" air quality levels with winds pushing smoke in the direction of the lake.

A smoke and fire map provided by AirNow on Tuesday morning shows the air quality levels currently being recorded for areas all across the U.S., with hazardous levels reported all around Lake Tahoe.

The air quality index, which is used by governments across the globe to measure air quality, classifies a score between 151 to 200 as "unhealthy" and between 201 to 300 as "very unhealthy." A score above 300 is considered "hazardous."

If an area is recording an air quality index score that is classified as very unhealthy, then residents are advised to "try to stay indoors," while if it is hazardous then locals are urged to "stay indoors."

Caldor Fire air quality
An air quality map provided by AirNow on August 24 showing the air quality levels in California and Nevada. Areas in burgundy are reporting hazardous air quality levels. AirNow

The worst areas shown on the map as of Tuesday, August 24, are Oakland Avenue and Kings Beach, both close to the lake, as they are reporting hazardous levels of 563 and 517 respectively.

More than 50 other areas in California close to the lake are showing hazardous air quality levels, while The Los Angeles Times reported that Nevada state parks and nearby schools were forced to close on Monday due to the smoke.

At least 93 large wildfires that have destroyed more than 2.5 million acres are currently burning in the U.S. across 13 states after a heatwave and drought in early July caused blazes to break out across the West Coast, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Officials have stressed that the devastating effects of the wildfires in the past few years have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change, which is likely to worsen in the future.

This message was echoed by California Governor Gavin Newsom earlier in August during a visit to the mountain town of Greenville, which saw several homes burned to the ground by the Dixie Fire, the largest blaze currently burning across the U.S. and the second largest in California's history.

According to data shared by Cal Fire, the Dixie Fire has now destroyed 772,896 acres burned at 40 percent contained, just behind the August Complex blaze that burned more than 1 million acres in 2020.

Caldor fire smoke
Smoke hangs low and is pushed onto Mormon Emigrant Trail as winds subside on August 18, 2021 in Pollock Pines, California due to the Caldor Fire. The fire has now destroyed more than 100,000 acres of land, as multiple areas close to the blaze are reporting “hazardous” air quality due to the spread of smoke from the wildfire. Allison Dinner/Getty Images