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california fires

Caldor Fire, moving closer to Lake Tahoe, threatens 17,000 structures

California's Caldor Fire is moving closer to Lake Tahoe, leaving firefighters, residents, and the recreational area's many resorts on edge.

The blaze ignited on Aug.14 a few miles south of Grizzly Flats in El Dorado County. Since then, it has burned 184 square miles and destroyed 455 homes. Firefighters have been working nonstop to try to put out the fire, but it is only 9 percent contained and threatening more than 17,000 structures. A dozen major fires are burning in California now, with 14,000 firefighters trying to put them out. Heavy smoke is drifting into northern Nevada, and schools in Reno were closed on Monday and Tuesday because it's not safe for children to breathe in the air. 

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Chief Thom Porter said on Monday the Caldor Fire is the country's top priority for firefighting resources. "It is knocking on the door to the Lake Tahoe basin," he added. "We have all efforts in place to keep it out of the basin, but we do need to also be aware that it is a possibility based on the way the fires have been burning."

Porter said he thinks the fire can be diverted from Lake Tahoe, but conceded that "Mother Nature has taken over and taken fires like the Dixie to places that I never thought was possible." The Dixie Fire, burning since July 13, has scorched 1,142 square miles in Northern California and destroyed 1,262 buildings.