As the flames of California’s Caldor fire approached a popular ski resort in Lake Tahoe, staff used every tool they could to protect the property, including snowmaking equipment.
Staff at Sierra-at-Tahoe spent days preparing to defend the 800-hectare resort west of South Lake Tahoe from the huge wildfire, which has rapidly advanced through the region.
Before the blaze burned on to the property on Sunday evening, they had created defensible space around buildings, sealed air ducts to keep out embers and repurposed water hydrants, normally used to make snow, to douse buildings in water, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
“It came in from the west side, almost a bull’s-eye right toward us, this big wall of fire,” resort manager John Rice told the Chronicle of the fire’s approach.
Rice used those hydrants to spray the buildings as flames from spot fires bore down on the resort on Sunday evening, before pushing further into the Lake Tahoe Basin on Monday.
Fire crews later used those snow-making machines to douse the ground.
Firefighters nearby used ski lifts at another resort to travel up the mountain to fight the blaze, SFGate reported.
Rice told the Chronicle that he credited the firefighting efforts with helping to save the ski resort from major damage.
The fast-moving Caldor fire has imperiled the beloved Lake Tahoe region, forcing unprecedented evacuations in the city of South Lake Tahoe and prompting a massive response from fire officials who have called the 77,525-hectare blaze the nation’s top firefighting priority.
Gusty winds and dangerous fire conditions would continue to complicate efforts to battle the blaze, officials said.
The fire, which broke out on Aug. 14, exploded in size over the weekend, with containment dropping from 19 percent to 16 percent.
The blaze has destroyed more than 600 structures, and more than 33,500 are threatened. It is one of 15 large fires burning in California as the state faces another grueling and destructive fire season.
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