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Some areas previously evacuated due to Caldor Fire repopulated

Five areas in El Dorado County, on the west and north sides of the Caldor Fire, were downgraded from evacuation orders to evacuation warnings Friday afternoon, according to Cal Fire news releases.

Officials at a Cal Fire community meeting Friday evening said that the change from evacuation orders to warnings, announced around 2:30 p.m. that afternoon, applied to the following two areas: south of Pleasant Valley between Bucks Bar Road and Newtown Road, east of Bucks Bar Road to Mount Aukum Road, including the area of Gopher Hole Road and Moonshadow; and south of Highway 50, north of Starkes Grade Road, east of Snows Road, and west of Fresh Pond.

Around 4:45 p.m., officials said at the meeting, “some more room for improvement” was found, leading to three additional areas being added to the list — described as South Sly Park, Grizzly Flats West, and all properties accessed by Happy Valley Road.

“We are actively looking at what we can repopulate for (Saturday), the next day, and the next day,” said John Davis, law enforcement liaison for CalFire Incident Management Team 6, at the meeting.

South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue Chief Clive Savacool stated that repopulation of the community was “one of the highest priorities right now, next to controlling the fire.”

Officials reported Friday morning, and again at the evening community meeting, that the Caldor Fire had burned 212,907 acres and was 29% contained — a growth of around 2,000 acres and 2% increase in containment from Thursday night.

As of Friday morning, according to a Cal Fire incident report, full containment was expected Sept. 27. Overnight, according to the report, firefighters had taken advantage of favorable conditions — moderate humidity recovery and a decrease in winds — “to build more control line and work direct along the northern edge of the fire.”

A smoke outlook issued Friday by the U.S. Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program forecast light winds would push smoke into the South Lake Tahoe, Tahoma, Tahoe City, Carson City and Gardnerville communities throughout that day, with a north wind that afternoon channeling it “towards Placerville and the Sacramento Valley.”

“The high pressure system over the region will limit the movement of this smoke throughout the weekend,” stated the forecast.

Grass Valley, according to the agency’s forecast, was expected to have a “moderate” overall Air Quality Index value by Friday afternoon, improving into the “good” range today.

Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at vpenate@theunion.com

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